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THE 



PRUSSIAN 

HATH SAID IN 
HIS HEART 



BY 

CECIL qraESTERTON 

WITH A FRBPACB BY 

GEORGE BERNARD SHAW 




NEW YORK 

LAURENCE T. GOMME 

1915 



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Copyright, 1915, by 
LOUIS H. WBTMORE 



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To 
G. K. CHESTERTON 

AVD 

LOUIS H. WETMORB 



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CONTENTS 

CHAPTKB PACn 

Pbefage by Gbobge Bernard Shaw v 

Introductory Letter to American Read- 
ers ix 

I Introduction 1 

II The Great Diaboust 8 

III The Wars op Anti-Christ • ... 29 

IV The Worship op the Beast .... 60 
V The Nemesis 90 

VI 1914 115 

VII The Barbarians 151 

VIII **Thou Shalt not Supper a Witch to 

Livb" 169 

IX Apter the War 188 



PREFACE 
By Oeobgb Bernard Shaw 

Cecil Chesterton^ like his prodigious brother, 
is a man to be reckoned with. He is a journalist 
in the old and serious sense : that is, a man who 
combines a mastery of the art of letters with a 
sympathetic insight into human nature, and a 
power of seizing on its topical manifestations 
from day to day, and handling them in such a 
way as to enlist public passion on his side and 
supply it with the arguments which make up 
what is called public opinion. Like most who 
possess this power in the most effective degree, 
he has cultiyated it viva voce as a speaker on 
various platforms, social, political and religious ; 
and as his utterances are always either auda- 
ciously unconventional, or, what is much more 
dangerous to an orator, reductions to complete 
seriousness of the conventional opinions which 
every one professes and hardly any one really 
means anything by, he continually provokes his 
audience by inhuman intellectual feats, and as 
continually conciliates it by the most valuable 
equipment of the bom orator, heartfelt good 



vi Preface by George Bernard Shaw 

manners. He has in addition the tremendous 
advantage, from the point of view of the popular 
orator and journalist, of being absolutely inde- 
pendent of party and indifferent to the rewards 
which party service bring to men of his gifts 
who are on sale. He has been pursued legally 
for his fierce invectives against the influence of 
finance in politics, and has stood his trial, suf- 
fered the inevitable hostile verdict and its se- 
quel of a half-hearted attempt to embarrass him 
with a fine which was either too much or too 
little, without losing an inch of ground or allow- 
ing his opponents to gain one. Where he will 
come out in the end I do not know. At present, 
he has swallowed all the formulas, from the most 
extreme and sceptical Atheism and Individual- 
ism of the mid-Victorian period to the Socialism 
of the fin de sidcle, only to land, not in cynicism 
or eclecticism, but in breaking lances for the 
most extreme dogmas of mediaeval Catholicism 
and the grossest prejudices of Henry Fielding, 
not to say of Squire Western. He has Latin 
brains and a very solid eighteenth century Brit- 
ish stomach ; and the combination is so rare that 
he talks and writes as nobody else in England 
does. The combination plays him tricks some- 
times, for his British shrewdness and humour 



Preface by George Bernard Shaw vii 

enable him to use his intellectual ingenuity to 
play the very exciting game of making the most 
imposing oases for all sorts of quite desperate 
causes; but he is saved from this sort of un- 
reality by a genuine and ardent republican con- 
science and sense of national honour which have 
drawn him further and further into an attack 
on the corruption of English public life by dan- 
gerous interests which are half trivially private 
(mostly dinner invitations) and half utterly in- 
human^ without country or conscienice^ or any 
end, except dividend. 

G. B. S. 



INTRODUCTORY LETTER 
TO THE AMERICAN EDITION 

My dear Wettnore, — 

I am naturally flattered to hear that you think 
this book may be useful on your side of the water. 
The peculiar conditions of this war and the im- 
mense issues which it must raise and decide 
make the opinion of neutral countries a matter 
of more than ordinary importance^ and cer- 
tainly there is no neutral country whose verdict 
is being expected with such eagerness and 
anxiety by all parties as is that of the United 
States of America. To convince America of our 
good faith and of the justice of our cause is so 
essential at this moment that I should be proud 
indeed, if I thought I could do even a little to- 
wards accomplishing it. 

As regards the justice of the cause in support 
of which England is now at war I have little to 
add to what will be found in the seventh chapter 
of this book. Indeed it is a subject upon which 
there is little that one can add to a plain state- 
ment of the factSy which are not and cannot be 
contradicted. I think the best proof of the 

is 



X Introductory Letter 

soundness of my thesis on this question is to be 
found in the fact that in the literature ( if I may 
judge by the samples I have seen) which is being 
circulated in America in support of the Prussian 
cause^ the question itself is so far as possible 
studiously avoided. Those who provide such lit- 
erature are apparently great masters of rhetoric, 
especially of the rhetoric of abuse. They can call 
England "the Serpent of the Sea" and Prance 
"the Harlot of the World." They can describe 
the French as "decadent" and the English as 
"avaricious shopkeepers," the Bussians as "Slav 
barbarians" and the Japanese as "ugly little 
Yellow Devils." All this might be true; and 
yet it would make no difference to the plain 
question of right or wrong. I happen to hold, 
and I believe that the American people agree 
with me (indeed it is the foundation doctrine of 
their C!ommon wealth) that. Men as Men, how- 
ever avaricious or decadent or barbaric or ugly, 
have Bights. The question at issue is simply 
this: have the Germanic Empires invaded the 
rights of their neighbours? It is a question 
which the apologists of those Empires dare not 
meet, because in the face of plain facts and pub- 
lic documents it can be answered in only one 
way. 



Introductory Letter xi 

I might indeed make my case clearer by illus- 
trations which would bring it home more closely 
to Americans. I might ask for example what 
you would have said if, after the Phoenix Park 
Murders, the English Government had declared, 
without producing a tittle of proof, that it be- 
lieved the murderers to be in communication 
with accomplices in New York; and if, on the 
strength of our unsupported assertion, we had 
demanded that the American Government should 
(1) insert in its public journals an official Pro- 
English and Anti-Irish pronouncement, (2) dis- 
band all Irish patriotic organisations in the 
United States, (3) suppress all Irish Nationalist 
papers, (4) dismiss from its service certain offi- 
cers of its State and Army, whom we would sub- 
sequently name, on the ground that we suspected 
them of sympathising with the grievances of Ire- 
land ? Suppose we had demanded that you should 
accept these terms without omission or qualifica- 
tion within forty-eight hours! I think that 
within six hours the British Ambassador at 
Washington would have received his passports 
and the decks of the American Navy would have 
been cleared for action. Yet the conduct I have 
imagined in regard to the English Government 
is exactly the conduct of the two Germanic Em- 



xii Introductory Letter 

pires towards Serbia. It is true that you are a 
big nation, while Serbia is a small one. But I 
am much mistaken if the American people will 
accept the Prussian doctrine that the rights of 
nationalities depend on size and not on justice. 

Again I might ask how you would like the 
application to the New World of the Prussian 
system of international morals as exhibited in 
Belgium. Suppose for instance that, having 
secured a guarantee of our neutrality in the 
event of a war with, say, Russia or Japan, you 
had devoted your energies to providing for 
the defence of your Pacific coast and, relying on 
our word, had left your Canadian frontier un- 
guarded? Suppose that your enemy, acting on 
the Prussian precedent, asked for a free passage 
for his troops through Canada, threatening dev- 
astation and outrage if the demand were re- 
fused; and suppose that the Canadians, warned 
by the fate of the unhappy Belgians, submitted? 
I think you would feel such treachery to be suf- 
ficiently abominable. Yet such a thing might 
happen if the Prussian doctrine were to win in 
this war, and the wrongs of Belgium were to go 
unavenged, — which, please God, they shall not. 

Finally, need I ask you whether if the German 
Empire were to emerge victorious, with no rival 



Introductory Letter xiii 

left on land or sea, and hungry for new con- 
quests^ especially colonial conquests, what you 
think would become of the Monroe Doctrine? 

But the special purpose of this book is not so 
much to demonstrate the crime of Prussia 
(which is indeed glaringly obvious) as to ex- 
plain it; and here again I am hopeful that it 
may be of some slight use in helping Americans 
to understand the European situation. It seems 
clear that at present the sympathy of America, 
is, as might have been expected, overwhelmingly 
on the side of the Allies ; but a dangerous point 
may be reached whenever the victory of the 
Allies shall be more decidedly affirmed. Not a 
few Americans, who see that we could not with- 
out disaster and dishonour have refrained from 
going to war, nmy yet feel that when once we 
have fairly beaten our enemies we ought to treat 
them with magnanimity, and so bring the war 
to a close at the earliest possible moment. As 
regards the German i)eople I entirely agree. It 
will be found in these pages that I have recog- 
nised fully the importance and necessary per- 
manence of their contribution to European civili- 
sation. But I have written this book in vain if 
I have not shown that the Allies cannot safely 
sheathe the sword until the military power of 



xiv Introductory Letter 

Prussia and all that it stands for have been ut- 
terly obliterated. 

Your own Lincoln always insisted on the view 
that Slave States and Free States could not per- 
manently exist side by side in your Common- 
wealth ; that ultimately either the institution of 
Slavery must become the universal foundation 
of that Commonwealth or it must perish. On 
exactly the same principle, it is the whole object 
of this book to show that the existence of the 
comity of European nations is inconsistent 
with the continued presence of a strong military 
power acting upon the moral on rather anti- 
moral assumptions of Prussia. Either all 
Europe, and perhaps ultimately all the world, 
must become Prussianised and adopt the Prus- 
sian standpoint, or Prussia, as a power, must 
be destroyed. 

And in this connection there is a special ap- 
propriateness in appealing to the American Re- 
public ; for that Republic is in a curious way at 
once the antithesis and the counterpart of the 
Kingdom of Prussia. 

As I have pointed out in the first chapter of 
this book the historic nations of Europe are of 
complex growth and inherit elements from many 
traditions, Pagan and Christian, Royalist and 



Introductory Letter xv 

Republican. Hence it is generally impossible 
to rednce their policy to a single formula. But 
there are in the world two nations which came 
into effective existence almost contemporaneously, 
and in each case by a kind of creative act The 
one is the United States; the other is Prussia. 

Your people are of mixed blood and various 
racial type. The foundiation of your unity is a 
creed : the creed set out in the Declaration of In- 
dependence. That the natural equality of man 
is self-evident, and that all men have an equal 
right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happi- 
ness: you were the first to set out these high 
dogmas (always implicit in Christian civilisa- 
tion) in luminous and imperishable words, and 
you founded your new Commonwealth upon 
them, before France took fire at them, and by 
her armies carried them victoriously through 
Europe. They made America a nation, and you 
cannot deny them without denying your nation- 
hood. 

Well, Prussia also has a creed, which she holds 
and acts upon with equal certitude and consist- 
ency. It is the precise opposite of yours. What 
appears self-evident to the Prussian professor is 
that all men aie not naturally equal, and that 
the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happi- 



xvi Introductory Letter 

ness belongs only to the strong or the "cultured," 
to Prussians or to Super-men. That is the 
creed, now revealed in all its naked infamy, 
against which we and our Allies are fighting. 
If we fail, you will have to take up the fight. 

Unless, indeed, the Declaration of Independ- 
ence is also a scrap of paper ! 

Yours sincerely, 

Gboil Chesterton 

London, January, 1915. 



THE PRUSSIAN HATH SAID 
IN HIS HEART 

CHAPTER I 

INTRODUCTION 

It is the principal object of this book to present 
a certain view, which the author holds to be the 
true view, of the war in which this country is 
now engaged, to show that war in a certain per- 
spective, as, I think, history will see it. For 
that purpose it is necessary to bring into sharp 
relief the factor which made war inevitable. 
That factor was, according to the view here taken, 
the political and military power of Prussia, the 
chara<;ter of the Prussian monarchy, and the 
spirit of those who as representing Prussian 
ideas directed the policy of the German Empire. 
Prussia as it existed before the war, was incom- 
patible with a civilised and Christian Europe. 
Sooner or later the one had to be crushed, if the 
other were not to be destroyed or (what would 
be worse) corrupted. That is my thesis. 



2 The Prussian Hath Said in His Heart 

To that thesis there is a very practical corol- 
lary ; and it is for the sake of that corollary that 
I have written this book at this time. 

If the thesis were merely theoretic and his- 
torical it might be well to suspend its demonstra- 
tion until the war itself had become a matter of 
history, and it could be reviewed, perhaps more 
impartially, certainly with a greater wealth of 
material. But the question is not merely theo- 
retic : it concerns urgent matters of public policy. 

So long, of course, as the issue is doubtful, the 
main object of us all must be simply to make sure 
of winning, but at any time now a succession of 
victories gained by the Allies over the two Ger- 
manic Empires may bring the question of the 
settlement which is to follow into the immediate 
sphere of discussion. In the last chapter of this 
book I draw attention to the powerful forces 
which are now working secretly, and may soon 
be working openly, in favour of a premature 
peex^e, such as would sacrifice the fruits of victory 
and leave Europe still under the menace which 
has been its nightmare for forty years. Here I 
will only point out that the question of the terms 
on which peace may safely and satisfactorily be 
made must depend upon the view we take of the 
causes of the war and the character of the enemy. 



Introduction 3 

It has been looeely and rather sentimentally 
said that we are not engaged in a war against 
the German people. That statement contains a 
truth and a falsehood. 

It is quite true that the varied peoples inhabit- 
ing the Oerman Empire did not make this war, 
and would not^ if left to their own tastes and 
traditions^ have made it It is true that these 
peoples have already suffered greatly from the 
supremacy of Prussia^ and would ultimately suf- 
fer more than any other Europeans by a victory 
which would make Prussia all-powerful. It is 
true that they wUly in the same sense, be gainers 
by the victory of the AUies. 

At the same time it is a very insufficient theory 
which would attribute the war solely to the wick- 
edness or madness of an individual man or even 
of a group of men. Projects for sending the 
present German Emperor to St. Helena on the 
strength of a ludicrous comparison with Napoleon 
(with whom William II has about as much in 
common as with St Francis of Assisi) will not 
meet the case. I do not mean that Europe should 
not inflict fitting punishment on the man or men 
directly and officially responsible for the war and 
its conduct I hold strongly that it should. 
But I do mean that you will get the whole pic- 



4 The Prussian Hath Said in His Heart 

ture wrong if you see merely the wicked Kaiser 
as its central figure. To take an analogy, if in a 
certain town there is a quite extraordinary prev- 
alence of crime you will not get-to the bottom of 
the problem by merely repeating that the crimes 
were committed by criminals, and that the crim- 
inals are responsible and ought to be punished. 
Of course they are responsible. Of course they 
ought to be punished. But what you want to 
know is why the criminals are so numerous and 
have so free a hand in that particular town. 
And the repetition of the above truisms (though 
very necessary if they are disputed) will not 
help you to find out 

The thing the Allies are really fighting against 
is a spirit, a tradition, a creed. That spirit and 
that creed have always directed the policy of 
Prussia. They now direct the policy of Germany. 
In so far as the Emperor represents them we are 
at war with the Emperor. In so far as the gov- 
erning class of Prussia represents them we are 
at war with the governing class of Prussia. In so 
far as the German peoples accept them and are 
prepared to fight for them we are at war withi 
the German peoples. 

In a word this war is at bottom a religious 
war. The thing which has defied Europe and 



Introduction 5 

has challenged Europe in arms is not a man or 
a class or a nation or an Empire — but a religion. 
And it is that religion which Europe, if it is to 
save itself, must first defeat and then destroy. 

To the spirit and creed of which I speak many 
names have been given. It is sometimes spoken 
of as "Militarism'' ; but that word is not only in- 
adequate but has been so misused in the past, 
being continually applied to that reverence for 
arms which is part of the very stuff of Christen- 
dom, and again to those reasonable precautions 
which a free nation will always take to protect 
its interests and its honour, that it can only mis- 
lead. Besides, the possession of a huge army 
and the subjection of the civil population by 
means of that army, though a necessary part of 
the Prussian system, is not the root of that lEfys- 
tem. Its root, as is the case with all human 
creations, will be found in a philosophy. 

That philosophy is Atheist Since the ex- 
pression may easily be misunderstood, I will 
at once proceed to explain the sense in which I 
use it 

In the present confusion there are many to 
whom the dogmas of religion present certain 
speculative difficulties which they do not feel able 
to solve. Some of these call themselves Atheists. 



6 The Prussian Hath Said in His Heart 

But ninety-nine out of every hundred of such 
men in England, France or America, accept as 
fully as any Christian the dogmatic assertion of 
moral responsibility, of the validity of the dis- 
tinction between right and wrong, of a purely 
ethical (that is mystical) test to which all hu- 
man action must be brought Huxley did so 
when he said that it were better for mankind to 
perish than to say ^^Evil be thou my good/' 
Many when arguiog against the existence of a 
Ood, will appeal to the sense of justice or of 
compassion, asking how God could permit this 
or that wrong to endure or this or that suffering 
to be inflicted. Such .men are in truth appeal- 
ing to God ; for Justice and Mercy are attributes 
of God, and their claim to unchallengeable au- 
thority rests on their beiug so. The professed 
Atheist may not perceive this; but, for us, the 
fact remains that in bringing all human things 
to the test of justice he is really admitting jus- 
tice to be super-human and implying a super- 
human Judge. 

The real Atheist is a man without God ; not a 
man who cannot satisfy himself as to the intel- 
lectual proposition that there is a God, but a 
man for whom God does not exist, for whom 
there is no Righteous Judge of Creation whose 



Introduction 7 

judgments are consciously or unconsciously ac- 
cepted, for whom the only test of human action 
is material success. Such a man may not pro- 
fess Atheism. He may even personify the mate- 
rial forces of the Universe^ of which alone he is 
conscious and in which alone he believes, and 
call them ^^God." This, one may guess, is what 
the German Emperor does, and his extraordi- 
nary speeches are quite explicable when so in- 
terpreted. It is certainly what is done by those 
Prussian theologians who still cling to a profes- 
sion of Theism and even of what they call 
^^Christianity," but whose Pantheism is simply 
the Materialism of Professor Haeckel of Jena 
turned inside out. These men are none the less 
Atheist in their fundamental philosophy, and the 
State which has been inspired by the type of 
thinking they represent is Atheist in practice and 
in morals. 

The Fool of Holy Scripture, it should be re- 
membered, was he who said, not in Hyde Park, 
but in his heart that there was no God. That 
Fool has directed the public policy of Prussia 
for more than a hundred and fifty years. There 
has often seemed not a littie of wisdom in his 
folly, but as sure as God lives and judges the 
earth, a Fool he was and a Fool he is to-day. 



CHAPTER II 

THB 6RBAT DIABOUST 

Thb difference between Prussia and the other 
great nations of Europe can best be understood 
if we consider her as the masterpiece of a single 
creative artist England and Prance — ^and, for 
the matter of that, Russia also— are like those 
great Christian Cathedrals which the Pru0sian 
so loves to destroy. They are the creation of 
ageSy and every age has left its mark upon their 
structure. As in such a Cathedral you will find 
Renaissance work superimposed on the Gothic 
and behind that the Norman or Romanesque, and 
perhaps in the foundations the Roman brick, so 
into the making of England or of France have 
entered the Roman order and arms, and the 
gigantic miracle of the Faith, and the energy of 
the Crusades, and the high civilisation of the 
Middle Ages, and the rediscovery of Antiquity, 
and the religious wars of Catholic and Protes- 
tant, and the Revolution, and the new flame of 
intense Nationality, which it kindled in friends 

8 



The Great DiaboUst 9 

and foes. And besides their common inherit- 
ance there has gone to the making of each, the 
special work of many great men, remembered 
still or long forgotten, warriors, saints, law-giv- 
ers, poets and orators. But Prussia, as we know 
her, was the work of one man. What she was 
when he died with all his work accomplished, 
that she is to-day. She has added much to her 
territory, much to her wealth, much to her mili- 
tary power, but not a penny to her spiritual 
treasury or an inch to her spiritual stature. 
Many able men have been in her service since 
that time, but one man of genius planned her 
foundations and built her walls, and to this day 
she bears stamped irrevocably upon her the im- 
press of his powerful and evil mind. 

That man was Frederick II, called — and justly 
called — ^the Great 

Frederick was bom in 1712, the eldest son of 
Frederick William I, King of Prussia. His 
father, the collector of gigantic soldiers who 
were never allowed to fight, was a man whose 
whole mind and character were coloured by mad- 
ness, and perhaps he bequeathed to his son an 
insane taint, which, indeed, broke out more than 
once in the Hohenzollem dynasty. Anyhow, it 
is fair to the son to remember that, apart from 



10 The Prussian Hath Said in His Heart 

any question of heredity^ his education was cal- 
culated to give his temperament a horrible twist 
His father entertained for him a hatred which^ 
like all the old lunatic's passions^ passed the 
bounds of reason, so that he was used with a 
frantic cruelty which on more than one occasion 
only just stopped short of murder. The young 
Frederick emerged from a childhood of unspeak- 
able misery able, energetic, capable of enormous 
industry, keenly interested in philosophy and 
literature, but with something unnatural and 
unsound in his mind or perhaps, rather, in his 
soul. As his character unfolded this unsound- 
ness develops into something more horrible than 
his father's wildest dementia. He seemed to 
hunger and thirst after iniquity as saints hun- 
ger and thirst after God. 

The wickedness of Frederick is a thing that 
stands quite by itself, and must not be confused 
with the crimes which have stained the record of 
nearly every great warrior and statesman of his- 
tory. There has been a tendency of late, espe- 
cially in Germany, to set up Napoleon as a 
"Superman," or, as we should say, "Satanist." 
But in truth such mystical deviltries were alto- 
gether alien to the lucid Latin brain and, in the 
main, decent human instincts of the great sol- 



The Great DiaboUst 11 

dier of the Bevolntion. Doubtful^ or indifferenty 
like nearly all his contemporarieB, in the matter 
of religion^ Napoleon took ordinary Christian 
morals for granted^ like other men^ though like 
other men, he often violated them. When he had 
been hurried into an unjustifiable act he either 
expressed remorse for it or made excuses for it, 
and his excuses (as in the case of the Due d'Eng- 
hein) had no reference to any ^^Master Moral- 
ity," but were the excuses that men ordinarily 
make for such acts, — grave peril, urgent public 
necessity, moral certitude that he was wronged 
and the victim guilty. 

From Frederick you will hear nothing either 
of penitence or of self-justification. He de- 
lighted in his crimes, loved to taste and exhibit 
their criminalily, to taunt the God he denied 
with their success. When he hacked a living 
nation to pieces he did so not doubtfully or re- 
luctantly as did the other two parties to the 
crime, but with joy in his heart and jests on his 
lips. "The Powers," he said, "might now com- 
municate and partake of the Eucharistic Body 
of Poland." Nor does anything in the transac- 
tion appear to have pleased him more than the 
knowledge that he was forcing a good woman to 
act against her conscience* "I wonder," he said 



12 The Prussian Hath Said in His Heart ' 

(and you can hear the horrible chuckle), "how 
that old woman has settled matters with her con- 
fessor?" His own share in the infamous spoil 
was perhaps less to him than the thought that by 
making her an accomplice in his sin he was 
wounding the good heart and outraging the 
Christian conscience of Maria Theresa. It was 
as grateful to him as to his Master. 

It should not be forgotten either, though the 
matter need only be glanced at, that in that de- 
partment of human life, which is perhaps, after 
a man's religion, the most fundamental and 
formative, Frederick suffered what is ever the 
mark of the Diabolist as contrasted with the 
merely self-indulgent sinner — ^the mark of per- 
version. 

In the Ages of Faith a simple explanation of 
Frederick's character and career would probably 
have found general acceptance. It would have 
been said that he had sold his soul to the Devil. 
And it may be that such a way of putting it 
would have been as lucid and satisfactory a 
statement of the truth as could have been found. 
For such deliberate choice of evil rather than 
good seems to have been what the men of the 
Middle Ages really meant by the sale of the soul, 
and such worldly success as Frederick undoubt- 



The Great DiaboUst 18 

ediy achieved was generally considered as its 
typical reward. But the age in which Frederick 
was bom was very far from being an Age of 
Faith. It was the age in which belief in the 
supernatural had sunk to the lowest ebb that it 
hBM ever reached since the Conversion of the 
West. 

The immense importance of this fact, its effect 
upon Frederick's fortunes and on the fate of his 
life-work will appear presently. At the moment 
we are concerned with its effect on himself. 
While Frederick was still a boy the assault upon 
the Christian faith, made for the most part in 
perfect sincerity and from honourable motives, 
by the great French philosophers was produc- 
ing deadly effect. Frederick, whose early 
teachers and companions were Frenchmen, who 
read, wrote, spoke and thought in French — 
though in bad French — ^immediately came under 
its influence. He was soon the friend and cor- 
respondent of Voltaire, the acknowledged chief 
of the new sect 

But between him and his masters there was a 
marked distinction. They were for the most 
part Deists. Even those few who denied God 
respected the fundamental axioms of morals. 
Indeed a constant appeal to these axioms was a 



14 The Prusnan Hath Said in His Heart 

chief part of their campaign against the Church. 
Frederick was an Atheist, and though in his 
youth literary ambition and affectation led him 
to write a stilted French essay on philanthropy 
and the duties of rulers in imitation of his fav- 
ourite models, it soon became apparent that his 
Atheism did not stop at any merely metaphysical 
speculation. His strong and lucid mind spanned 
the whole gulf between the eighteenth and twen- 
tieth centuries. It pushed him past the Deism 
of Voltaire, past the Agnosticism of Huxley. 
His intellectual courage confronted the final and 
tremendous question which Huxley faced but did 
not answer in his last and greatest essay. He 
boldly and even gladly gave the answer which 
Huxley refused to give. He saw that the denial 
of God meant ultimately the denial of Bight. 
And he welcomed the solution. 

Frederick, let it be understood, was perfectly 
sincere. In minor matters of assumed culture 
he had abundant affectations. But his Atheism 
was no affectation. It was a conviction as solid 
as a rock. And upon that rock he would build 
his State, and the gates of Heaven should not 
prevail against it. 

But how was a State to be founded on the 



The Great DiaboUst 15 

Denial of Bight? To any one who has tried to 
think out what a State is and why it exists the 
problem will appear a pretty formidable one; 
for it is precisely on the Assertion of Right that 
all States rest their claim to authority. Every 
Government, whether its form be democratic, 
oligarchic or despotic, claims the obedience of 
its subjects on the ground that it represents Jus- 
tice, as the nation conceives it, that it bears the 
sword for the punishment of evil-doers and the 
encouragement of them that do well. And as 
that claim is the basis of all government, so the 
national assent to that claim is the basis of all 
civil obedience. But how is a State whose first 
principle is the denial of all divine and human 
rights to obtain such obedience? 

It is obvious enough that a Government which 
cannot claim to repose on Bight without deny- 
ing its own first principle must, if it is to exist 
at all, repose on Force; and the doctrine that 
Government is based on Force, a doctrine which 
no tyrant of older times would ever have ven- 
tured to whisper, has from the beginning been 
part of the Prussian creed and has spread from 
Prussia even to this country. But, even so, the 
problem is not solved, for how is the ruler to 



16 The Prusnan Hath Said in His Hearf 

obtain the force necessary to coerce his subjects 
into obedience, since he himself cannot be physi- 
cally stronger than all of them together? 

Frederick found the answer in that great in- 
strument which his father had in part created — 
rather as a mad hobby than for any definite pur- 
pose — ^but which his own genius made the thing 
it ultimately became, and on which the whole 
fabric of Prussian rule still rests — the Prussian 
army. 

Frederick knew that a body of men, armed, 
equipped and well-disciplined can keep down a 
much larger body of unarmed and undisciplined 
populace, especially if that populace is not very 
courageous, lacks initiatiye and the power of 
voluntary self-organisation, and has no strong 
and vivid tradition of freedom. For the main- 
tenance of obedience in the army itself — ^at that 
time a professional or mercenary force drawn 
from the poorest part of the population — ^he re- 
lied upon Terror. The cruelty of the punish- 
ments inflicted on his soldiers was unexampled 
even in the eighteenth century when all military 
discipline was at its harshest Sentences of 
many hundred lashes were freely given, and a 
military flogging was so horrible a business that 
soldiers sentenced to undergo it constantly 



The Great DiaboUst 17 

pleaded with evident sincerity to be shot instead. 
When Frederick was the ally of England he 
could not venture to allow Englishmen who were 
anxious to accompany his army to do so, lest 
they should see by what means Prussian disci- 
pline was maintained. In fact the whole aim of 
that discipline was, as it is to-day, to make the 
soldier more frightened of his officer than of any 
possible adversary. 

It need not be denied that there was much in 
Frederick's administration which has been 
highly praised, and which to some extent de- 
serves the praise it has received. But all his 
statesmanship, good or bad in itself, can be 
related to his basic political creed. Thus he has 
been much commended for the freedom he gave 
to discussion and to the expression of opinion. 
But it should be remembered that Governments 
which know their power to rest ultimately upon 
opinion will always feel nervous and some- 
times grow panic-stricken when opinions which 
threaten their dominion are propagated. Thus 
the French Monarchy rested upon the belief of 
most Frenchmen for several centuries that the 
Monarch embodied National Justice, was a kind 
of sacramental representative of the nation. 
When this belief was challenged the French 



18 The Prussian Hath Said in His Heart 

Monarchy was in peril. When it was repudiated 
by the French people, the French Monarchy fell. 
Much the same is true to-day of Russia, where, 
if the mass of Russians really ceased to regard 
the Tsar as the "Little Father'' of his people the 
present form of Government would collapse as it 
nearly did collapse nine or ten years ago, when 
confidence in the Autocracy had been for the 
moment shaken. But Frederick's rule did not 
rest on opinion or consent : it rested on his com- 
mand of the army and the army's command of 
the nation. So long as that command was un- 
shaken he had nothing to fear from any opinion 
his subjects might entertain. Nay, the more 
they debated and wrangled the less likely they 
were to impede his plans. "My people and I," 
he said, "have come to an arrangement that suits 
us both: they are to say what they like and I 
am to do what I like." That was the sound and 
far-sighted policy of Frederick, and whenever the 
HohenzoUems have departed from it they have 
done so to their own disadvantage. Only yes- 
terday we saw that the Socialist Party, despite 
its three million votes, could not deflect by a 
hair's-breadth the policy of the real masters of 
the German legions, and therefore of German 
policy. 



The Great Diabolist 19 

It should also be said that Frederick 'worked 
hard, and on the whole wisely, to promote the 
material prosperity of his people ; and here again 
his policy haa been followed, more or less accord- 
ing to their wisdom, by all his successors. Of 
the precise character of the Prussian "social legis- 
lation" which Europe has so largely imitated 
since 1870 I shall speak hereafter. Here I will 
pause only to note that in this matter as in 
others the main lines of Prussian policy derive 
from Frederick, and also perhaps to note a curi- 
ous historical parallel. In one other very re- 
mote place there was once erected a State where 
a regime of terror and a curious perversion of 
morals were accompaniments of a social system 
which boasted of having eliminated economic dis- 
tress. It may seem wild to draw an analogy be- 
tween a king whose principal vanity was in his 
emancipation from all the superstitions of reli- 
gion .and an impostor raised to power by one of 
the most frantic delusions that religious credulity 
ever inspired. Yet if we study his career closely 
we shall see that the impostor also had some 
claims to be considered a great man, and if we 
disregard non-essentials we shall really find some 
kinship in the methods and, perhaps, in the souls 
of Frederick HohenzoUem and Brigham Young. 



20 The Prussian Hath Said in His Heart 

Such waB the State which Frederick proposed 
to create^ and when he had created it he was re- 
solved to make it, sooner or later, the first power 
in Europe. In international affairs it was his 
belief that the principle upon which it was 
founded would be a source, not of weakness, but 
of strength. That he would be free, upon his 
principles, to strike treacherously, to violate 
treaties which others would respect, to make 
wars without provocation, and to seize territories 
to which he had no claim, would give him a dis- 
tinct advantage over his antagonists, as a similar 
theory of morals (though perhaps not as lucidly 
defined) gives the garroter and the card-sharper 
an advantage over their victims. There is no 
doubt that up to a point he was right In this 
present war, for instance, the Prussians would 
never have taken Li6ge or Namur, never have 
forced their way almost to the walls of Paris, had 
it not been for the respect paid by their enemies 
to rights and promises which they themselves 
violated without scruple or shame. The "scrap 
of paper" argument is not original : it dates like 
everything else Prussian, from the great Fred- 
erick; he also called treaties "pretty filigree 
work." 

Such were the broad outlines of Frederick's 



The Great DiaboUst 21 

policy. Before we describe how far it succeeded 
it will be well to take note of the material with 
which he had to work and of the kind of Europe 
in which the work had to be done. 

Such a State sb Frederick contemplated could 
not possibly have been established in a country 
with a vivid memory of the Boman order or in 
one with a tradition of great battles fought for 
political liberty, least of all in one strongly and 
determinedly Christian. But in all these mat- 
ters Frederick w^as fortunate. No Boman le- 
gionary had ever been within many hundred 
miles of the farthest outposts of old Prussia. 
Prussia had no political history ; nothing but a 
series of rulers obeyed in turn by a more or less 
servile population. That population was of 
mongrel Slavonic stock originally ruled by a 
small Oerman aristocracy. The Faith reached 
Prussia far later than it reached Bussia or Nor- 
way, and never penetrated deep. Chaucer, writ- 
ing at the end of the fourteenth century, speaks 
of his knight as having fought ^^against the hea- 
then in Prussie." Early in the sixteenth century 
the work, such as it was, was ruined. The Prus- 
sians, at the command of their princes, became 
Protestant in the lump without any of those 
fierce religious disputes and appeals to arms 



22 The Prussian Hath Said in His Heart 

whichy whether they ended in the victory of the 
Catholic Church or of its enemies, quickened and 
refreshed the spirit of other nations. Frederick 
had therefore little to fear from his own people 
in the prosecution of hiis plans. What had he to 
fear from Europe? 

Here again Frederick's fortune favoured him. 
In another a^ such an experiment as his would 
have been stamped out by a Crusade; but that 
was not the age of Crusades. The wars of reli- 
gion had ended long before ; indeed religion itself 
was all but dead among the rich and powerful 
and seemed to be dying even among the populace. 
National wars and wars for civic freedom were 
equally out of fashion. The typical wars of that 
age were dynastic. Two families disputed about 
some point of precedence or inheritance, others 
joined either combatant as allies. The fighting 
was done by comparatively small professional 
armies. The issue was decided to the advantage 
of one family and to the disadvantage of the 
other. No larger effect was expected ; any larger 
effect would have embarrassed both combatants. 

It was in such a moral atmosphere and with 
such materials at his disposal that Frederick 
Hohenzollem, king, philosopher and pervert, 
threw down his challenge to God. 



s * 



The Great DiaboUst 28 

The matter upon which the immediate issue 
was joined was the right of Maria Theresa to the 
Hapsburg inheritance. That right was as clear 
as public law and public treaties could make it 
The Pragmatic Sanction by which it was guar- 
anteed had been assented to by every European 
sovereign and by none in clearer terms than by 
Frederick of Prussia. Nevertheless Frederick 
determined to strike a blow at the Empress and 
to strike it treacherously. Without a declara- 
tion of war, without the smallest intimation of 
his intentions^ nay^ in the midst of renewed as- 
surances of support, he invaded Silesia. 

The thing was, of course, simply theft. The 
HohenzoUerns never had any rights in Silesia 
that would have borne a moment's examination, 
and, if they had ever had any, they had long ago 
renounced them, and Frederick himself had ex- 
pressly and recently confirmed the renunciation. 
Any one who doubts the unanswerable character 
of the case against the King of Prussia in this 
matter had better be referred to the defence. 
We have Frederick's own account of the matter, 
and we have the best that can be said for him by 
one of the greatest of English — or rather Scotch 
— men of letters. I quote from Carlyle's Life. 
Let us hear Frederick first: — 



24 The Prussian Hath Said in His Heart 

This Silesia project fulfilled all his (the King's) 
political views. It was a means of acquiring reputa- 
tion; of increasing the power of the State; and of 
terminating what concerned that Icmg-litigated ques- 
tion of the Berg-Julish Succession. 

Frederick then goes on to weigh the dangers 
against the chances of success, duly noting 
"weak condition of the Austrian Court, Treasury 
empty, War Apparatuis broken in pieces, inex- 
perienced young Princess to defend a disputed 
succession on those terms /^ (nothing could make 
the man and all he stood for more horribly yiyid 
than this sentence), the chances of an alliance 
with either France or England, and the death of 
the Casarina as removing Bussia from the list of 
probable enemies. "Add to these reasons, an 
Army ready for acting; Funds, Supplies all 
found and perhaps the desire of making oneself 
a name, all this was cause of the War which the 
King now entered upon." 

That is Frederick's confession. It has a start- 
lingly topical ring. Now let us see what Carlyle 
has to say for him: — 

As to the justice of his Silesian Claims or even to 
his own belief about their justice Frederick affords 
not the least light which can be new to readers here. 
He speaks when business requires it of ''those known 
rights" of his and with the air of a man who expects 



The Great DiaboUst 26 

to be believed on his word ( !) ; but it is cursorily, and 
in the business way only — ^a man, you would say, con- 
siderably indifferent to our belief on that head ; his eye 
on the practical merely. ' * Just Rights t ' ' What are 
rights, never so just which you cannot make valid t 
The world is full of such. If you have rights and can 
assert them into facts do it ; this is worth doing. 

In other words what matters is not whether 
Frederick was trying to burgle his neighbour's 
house or pick his neighbour's pocket, but whether 
he could do it successfully and keep the swag! 
One wonders how Carlyle would have liked that 
argument if used against him by a swindling 
publisher ! 

The new Atheist creed was now to be seen 
fully in being and in action. The first betrayal 
was by no means the last For the purpose of 
his unjust and faithless aggression Frederick had 
leagued himself with Bavaria and with France. 
The instant his own share of the spoil was secure, 
he broke faith with his allies and retired from the 
contest In 1744 Frederick again attacked Aus- 
tria without provocation and in the following 
year he again abandoned his allies without 
shame. His successive treacheries prospered ex- 
ceedingly. When at last peace was signed at 
Aix-la-Chapelle he was the only gainer. He ob- 
tained Silesia and an immense increase in the 



26 The Prussian Hath Said in His Heart 

military prestige of his kingdom. No other 
power really obtained anything. 

And then^ when the full success of the new 
creed was revealed, a curious thing happened. 
Something which all men seemed to have forgot- 
ten, something the existence of which Frederick 
especially denied, that thing which men had once 
called Christendom, which they might now call 
the Common Conscience of Europe, stirred in its 
sleep. Within less than ten years of the Treaty 
of Aix a coalition had been formed against the 
armed champion of injustice which in a faint and 
half remembered fashion recalled those great 
coalitions which had waged war under the walls 
of Acre, at Lepanto and along the Danube. For > 
it was a coalition whose object, though but half 
conscious, was to destroy and expel from Europe 
something alien to her soul, something which, if 
she did not destroy, must sooner or later destroy 
her. 

The crusade failed. For that failure many 
reasons might be suggested. The military gen- 
ius of Frederick was one important factor: the 
excellence of the great army he had trained so 
carefully — an army still strictly professional, yet 
containing a far larger percentage of those who 



The Great Diabolist 27 

owned his rule than did any other army of that 
age — was another. But the most fundamental 
reason was, perhaps, that Europe, though an- 
gered and outraged by his insolent and success- 
ful treason, was not, as it had once been, one in 
spirit and tradition. It had no one solid cer- 
tainty to which to rally. Its rulers, long accus- 
tomed to wage merely dynastic wars, were un- 
decided, and their motives were mixed. Eng- 
land, somewhat isolated from Europe and ruled 
since the Revolution by a close and very national 
oligarchy, was ready to become Frederick's ally 
that she might aid in depressing the House of 
Bourbon. The throne of France was occupied 
by a man who was, indeed, by no means the ut- 
terly base and contemptible person that he has 
sometimes been painted, but on whose soul had 
settled a sort of despair, partly, perhaps, the 
nemesis of excessive self-indulgence, partly the 
effect upon a very clear intelligence of the con- 
templation of the irreparable decline of his house 
and what might well appear to him the decline of 
his country. The Empress of Russia was a 
woman of loose character moved to anger at least 
as much by Frederick's private gibes as by his 
public crimes. In Maria Theresa alone, it may 



28 'The Prusdan Hath Said in His Heart 

be, was there something of the real spirit and 
creed of Don John of Austria or Richard Cceur 
de Lion. 

Anyhow, as the seven years of war approached 
their end, ally after ally slackened and fell off 
from the confederacy. When peace came Fred- 
erick still held Silesia. Injustice, flagrant and 
unashamed, was confirmed. Atheism, young, 
vigorous, accoutred, confident in its material 
strength and in its negative certitudes, had chal- 
lenged a hesitating, an unprepared, a doubtful 
Christendom to arms. And Atheism had won. 



CHAPTEK III 

THE WARS OP ANTI-CHEIST 

The remaining twenty years of Frederick's life 
were years of all but unbroken peace. Of this 
peace it is enough to say that, to the Christian 
conscience, it was more detestable than the worst 
of his wars. 

At the close of the Seven Years' War Frederick 
came to one conclusion of immense moment to 
the future of Prussia and of Europe. He came 
to the conclusion that there was one Power on 
the Continent which was too strong for him ever 
to crush and which he must, therefore, conciliate ; 
for it was of the essence of his philosophy to 
break the weak and conciliate the strong. The 
policy which he deliberately adopted towards 
that power and towards the dynasty that ruled 
it became a fixed tradition in his family, was 
pursued unswervingly down to the dismissal of 
Bismarck, and was never really abandoned until 
within a year or so of the present date. That 
power was Russia. 

20 



80 The Prussian Hath Said in His Heart 

It was Frederick's desire to connect himself 
closely with Bussia. He determined to safe- 
guard that connection by a dreadful pledge, to 
confirm it by a horrible sacrament — ^the murder 
of a nation. The two powers were to be bound 
together by partaking together of what Frederick, 
with a characteristic sort of pleasantry called 
"the Eucharistic Body" of a third. 

The partition of Poland was Frederick's work 
and bears the emphatic impress of his mind and 
will. Bussia was more or less willing and Aus- 
tria a most reluctant accomplice; neither would 
have dared to suggest such a crime unprompted. 
The crime, the most easily accomplished and the 
most apparently successful of his crimes, has 
brought ite due punishment on his descendants. 
The hatred borne by the Poles to their con- 
querors, but especially to the most guilty of their 
conquerors, the Prussians, has been fruitful of 
evil to his House, and it may be that even now it 
is in Poland that the Hohenzollem dynasty will 
find its grave. 

In 1786 Frederick died and went to his ac- 
count. Far fitter to him than to poor Louis XV 
would have been the words of his chief eulogist : 
"Enough for us that he did fall asleep; that 
curtained in thick night, under what keeping 



The Wars of Anti-Christ 81 

we ask not, he at least will never, through unend- 
ing ages, insult the face of the sun any more." 
In 1792 his successor, with the help of the Tsar 
and the Austrian Emperor, carried through a new 
and more ruthless partition of Poland such as 
he had always recommended. But, before this, 
far away in Paris something had changed whose 
changing was to change the world. 

The policy pursued by Prussia throughout the 
Revolutionary Wars is worthy of careful atten- 
tion. It is a distinctly humiliating chapter in 
her history, but too characteristic to be passed 
over. 

In those wars the sympathies of the present 
writer are necessarily with France, and with that 
creed of human equality, that demand for the 
ending of privilege for which Prance stood. But 
there were high enthusiasms and great loyalties 
on both sides. Among those French exiles who 
gathered at Coblentz there were many who fought 
not for their own privileges, but for that great 
Monarchy which had been for so many centuries 
the banner and beacon of France. Passion for 
an insulted and persecuted Faith was the very 
soul of the desperate rising of the western peas- 
antry. And so with foreign enemies of the Re- 
public. A chivalrous compassion for a fallen 



82 The Prussian Hath Said in His Heart 

family played its part. To manj^ too, the de- 
thronement of the Bourbons seemed a simple de- 
nial of established right, the banning of mere 
anarchy. And, later, as the struggle developed, 
other and yet nobler elements entered into the 
opposition to the victorious French advance. 
The Spaniards fought fiercely through years of 
humiliation that they might remain Spanish and 
not French, and something of the same impulse 
showed itself later and more sluggishly, as was 
consonant with the less military spirit of the peo- 
ple, among the Germans. In England the war 
became a thoroughly national thing; the name 
which was its symbol was not Pitt, but Nelson. 
A tenacious and mystical religion informed the 
invulnerable Bussian resistance against which 
the French at last broke themselves. 

But in none of these enthusiasms, any more 
than in the hunger for freedom which inspired 
the Bevolution itself, had Prussian any share. In 
all these great storms in which the souls of na- 
tions were dashed together or apart, her rulere, 
faithful to the Frederician tradition, saw only 
troubled waters in which to fish. But in truth, 
as they speedily found, such mighty tides were 
ill-suited for such fishing. 

The first intervention of Prussia in the matter 



The Wars of Anti-Christ 88 

was hep adhesion to the Declaration of Pillnitz 
in August 1791. By that declaration the rulers 
of Prussia and Austria bound themselves to use 
their combined power for the support of the 
French Monarchy against the Revolution. It is 
the real starting point of the Revolutionary 
Wars, though war did not actually break out till 
nearly a year later. 

The action of the Hapsburgs needs no explana- 
tion. The Queen of Prance was of their family 
and had for more than a year been secretly so- 
liciting the aid of foreign arms. The King, after 
holding out for some time, had at last consented 
to her treason. Pillnitz, so far as Austria was 
concerned, was the friendly response of the 
family of Marie Antoinette to her entreaties, 
strengthened, no doubt, by a certain dread felt 
by the Hapsburg dynasty lest the example of 
France should spread to its own subjects. 

It was otherwise with Prussia. The fate of 
Marie Antoinette, the fate of the French royal 
family, were nothing to the Hohenzollerns. As 
I have pointed out, Frederick William had less 
reason to fear popular insurrection in his own 
country than any other sovereign in Europe, 
though an instinct may have warned the Eang of 
Prussia that a system such as his uncle had es- 



84 The Prussian Hath Said in His Heart 

tablished must always And it more or less to its 
advantage to support tyranny against the asser- 
tion of popular rights; and certainly the ready 
lending of such support wherever it can be lent 
without the sacrifice of any material advantage, 
has been one of the most consistent traditions of 
the HohenzoUems. It may, however, be reason- 
ably presumed that the main motive of Prussia 
in moving in the matter was the same as the 
motive of her previous wars and acts of aggres- 
sion, the hope of material gain. 

France was weak. That alone was a good 
Prussian reason for attacking her. Her armies 
were disorganised and largely worthless. Her 
Executive was betraying the national cause. If 
that Executive was overthrown (as it was soon to 
be overthrown) there seemed nothing capable of 
taking its place. Of that power of recovery by a 
corporate and spontaneous act of the national 
will which the French, above all European peo- 
ples, possess, and which was to give them, in so 
miraculous a fashion, a new government and a 
new army able at last to conquer Europe, the 
Prussians were the last people to have any ink- 
ling. 

To make an armed assault on a neighbour who 
happened to be at the moment in difficulties was 



The Wars of Anti-ChrUt 86 

a proceeding thoroughly in harmony with the 
Frederician tradition. As for the clause in their 
joint declaration whereby the allied sovereigns 
(the Emperor probably meaning what he said) 
renounced all personal aims and all thought of 
territorial annexations^ the King of Prussia and 
his advisers doubtless regarded it as what the 
great Frederick had called "pretty filigree work/' 
and what the present German Chancellor calls 
"a scrap of paper." Had Prussia had her way in 
this or any other moment of the long struggle, 
France would, one may pretty safely say, have 
shared the fate of Poland. 

The Declaration of Pillnitz was followed, after 
many months of hesitation, by a joint invasion 
of France by the Austrian and Prussian armies 
under the command of the Duke of Brunswick 
and the King of Prussia* They had every reason 
to anticipate a speedy success. The first line of 
the French resistance on the frontier collapsed 
as had been anticipated. Then, very unexpect- 
edly, came the check at Valmy and the retreat 

With the wonderful epic of the French resist- 
ance I am not here concerned. I am only con- 
cerned with the attitude of Prussia towards it; 
and that attitude becomes at this point exceed- 
ingly interesting. In January, 1793, King Louis 



86 The Prussian Hath Said in His Heart 



was guillotiiied. In the spring of the same year 
the Revolutionary Tribunal was set up and the 
first Committee of the Public Safety chosen. 
Before the summer was over the Girondins had 
fallen, and that ruthless, but very necessary, mili- 
tary dictatorship which we call "the Terror," was 
finally established. All this shocked Europe, 
shocked many good men who had at an earlier 
date been zealous for liberty. England, Spain 
and several smaller powers joined the Coalition 
against the Republic. But, as the anger of the 
honest enemies of the Revolution grows and 
spreads, it is very noticeable that the eagerness of 
Prussia, who with Austria had inaugurated the 
crusade, perceptibly wanes. 

The conquest of France was not, then, to be 
so easy after all. There was to be no parade to 
Paris, no "military execution" of that city (so 
dear to the Prussian heart) as Brunswick had 
promised. On the contrary, there was to be for- 
midable and ever-growing resistance, a resistance 
that was soon to become a vigorous offensive. 
In October 1793 (it was the same week that 
Marie Antoinette perished) the French achieved 
their first real and decisive victory over the Aus- 
trians at Wattignies. Another victory follows 
at Fleurus in January 1794. By July 1794 



The Wars of Anti-Christ 87: 



Prussia had abandoned her allies and 
from the contest 

The hope of partitioning France was over for 
the moment But Prussia was not without com- 
pensation elsewhere. In 1795 she added yet an- 
other slice of Poland to her territory. 

The theft was as easy as it was tempting, for 
Poland, or what was left of it, had no means of 
resisting. It was a different thing when the 
Prussian rulers, turning again, found themselves 
confronted with Napoleon. 

In dealing with Napoleon, Prussia showed 
unusual caution. She saw his armies over-run 
Western Germany; she was angry and terribly 
afraid, but she offered no resistance. Then she 
tried to bargain. Might she have Hanover as 
the price of her neutrality? Napoleon tempo- 
rized ; he knew she was treacherous, but he was 
at the moment bent on crushing more determined 
antagonists. Then bribes were offered from the 
other side ; an armed alliance with Austria and 
Bussia, subsidies from England. Frederick Wil- 
liam almost made up his mind to join the second 
Coalition. His envoy approached Napoleon with 
a threatening letter — practically a declaration of 
war — in his pocket. But, while he was waiting 
for an audience. Napoleon was annihilating the 



88 The Prussian Hath Said in His Heart 

Austrian and Russian armies at Austerlitz ; and 
a friendly epistle conveying to the conqueror the 
congratulations of the King of Prussia and offer- 
ing him an honourable and permanent alliance 
was hastily substituted ! So matters went on — 
the Prussian statesmen alternately fawned on 
Napoleon and stabbed at him in the dark. At 
last he resolved to be rid of them. At Jena the 
great army which was* the very framework of 
Prussia was broken in pieces. 

Prussia, her Crown reduced to vassalage and 
her army limited by the veto of her conqueror, 
counted for nothing, until Napoleon blundered 
into the invasion of Russia, the failure of which 
made possible the last European combination 
against him. To that combination Prussia gave 
her adherence, and when France was invaded in 
1814 her troops distinguished themselves by tbe 
peculiarly abominable character of the outrages 
by which they avenged the humiliation of Jena 
on helpless non-combatants. Torture was freely 
resorted to. The full story of these abominations 
may be read in the pages of Houssaye. In the 
judgment of that very accurate historian the 
Prussians behaved, if anything, rather worse 
than the Cossacks — ^then an irregular and more 
or less barbaric force of auxiliaries, whose out- 



The Wars of Anti-Christ 89 

breaks of savagery were doubtless spontaneons. 
It is probable that the Prussian atrocities, like 
those recently committed in Belgium and France, 
were deliberate and orgaidsed. Indeed a g^era- 
tion before Frederick had treated Saxony in 
much the same fashion. 

At Vienna Prussia made some attempt to re- 
vive her favourite project for partitioning 
France, but her more honest allies refused and 
insisted that the restored Bourbons should re- 
ceive their inheritance intact Frederick Wil- 
liam, however, obtained a considerable accession 
of territory in Germany itself, including the 
wealthy and strategically invaluable Rhine prov- 
inces. 

Nevertheless the epoch of the Revolutionary 
Wars was not an epoch suited to the full develop- 
ment of Prussian policy. It was a time of great 
passions and high ideals clashing with each 
other. It had the smell of the morning, and great 
men with something of the simplicity of children 
were its chief figures. In such an age a power 
whose first principle was a cynical materialism, 
and whose aims were purely predatory, might 
pick up a province here and there in the con- 
fusion. But it was in constant danger of being 
struck down by the great blows that were being 



40 The Prussian Hath Said in His Heart 

exchanged over its head. It was the settled un- 
belief of eighteenth century Europe that had 
made possible the raids of Frederick and the es- 
tablishment of Prussian power. The Freder- 
ician tradition could hardly succeed so solidly 
again until the fires of the Bevolution had died 
out and the world was again weary of high 
hopes. 

Many doubtless thought that those fires had 
been trodden out in 1815 ; but they were wrong. 
The Bevolution was conquered too late. The 
armies of the Empire had carried with them 
everywhere the thoughts that remade Europe. 
Nothing could ever be the same again, and it was 
not long before the artificial structure set up by 
the diplomatists of the old world at Vienna be- 
gan to crack and crumble. Much of that struc- 
ture still remains ; it will perhaps be part of the 
ultimate task of the present war to clear away 
what is left of it But it did not endure even for 
twenty years in the solid peace which the Holy 
Alliance hoped to make perpetual. Humanity 
struggled perpetually against it Perhaps the 
most desperate of its struggles was that with 
which we associate the year 1848. It is of spe- 
cial importance in connection with the subject 
of this booky because its failure (in the main) 



The Wars of Anii-Christ 41 

makes the starting point from which once more 
we see Prussia emerging as a great military 
power intent on brigandage at the expense of its 
neighbours. 

In 1848, by one of those instinctive movements, 
which are native to her and prove her to be really 
one, all Europe stirred. In France the attempt 
to erect a "Constitutional Monarchy" on the Eng- 
lish model — ^a thing wholly unnational — was de- 
stroyed by popular insurrection. Its overthrow? 
was the signal for an explosion all over Europe. 
Italy rose and Hungary, and there was a ferment 
in the Germanies. For the first and last time in 
their history even the Prussians moved. 

As a whole the movement failed. In France, 
indeed, the Bourbons fell and, after a few years 
of unstable equilibrium, an overwhelming expres- 
sion of the national will demanded that popular 
dictatorship to which the French have so con- 
tinually recurred and will probably recur again. 
In Italy the King of Sardinia, standing forth in 
alliance with the Pope as the champion of the 
national cause, was defeated, and the hold of the 
Hapsburgs on the northern provinces for the 
time confirmed. In Poland and in Hungary in- 
surrectionary movements were crushed by a com- 
bination of the rulers of Bussia, Austria and 



42 The Prussian Hath Said in His Heart 



Pmssia. In England the last rally of the Chart- 
ists collapsed on Kennington Common. 

The Prussian struggle is mainly of interest 
from the point of view of this book in so far as 
it brings for the first time into prominence the 
man who was to revive "the Frederician tradi- 
tion" as an active factor in European politics — 
Prince Otto von Bismarck. 

Prince Bismarck is interesting in more ways 
than one. His character and career serve to 
show how deep the tradition of the great Fred- 
erick had sunk into the Prussian mind. Bis- 
marck was not, like Frederick, a man whose 
whole soul was possessed of evil. ECe was neither 
an Atheist nor a pervert. He seems to have held 
sincerely to the vague Lutheranism of his up- 
bringing, and he was beyond question a most af- 
fectionate and faithful husband. The contrast 
between his private and his public character can 
be accounted for only on the assumption that he 
accepted without question the doctrine that pub- 
lic affairs were outside the sphere of morals. 
Those who think this incredible cannot have real- 
ised how violently a false religion can warp those 
moral instincts which are the voice of God in the 
soul. As men, not without their own moral 
standard, will nevertheless consent under pres- 



The Wars of Anti-Christ 48 

sure of an evil creed to abominations such as hu- 
man sacrifice or cannibalism in earlier times, or 
in our own time, to "eugenics," and even to such 
folly as the denial of Christmas beer to paupers, 
so Bismarck, no diabolist like Frederick, but a 
politician inheriting a certain policy, could be 
simply blind to the idea of moral responsibility 
as applied to international relations. 

In 1848 it was his foresight and decision which 
largely helped to save the Prussian Monarchy 
from annihilation by the revolutionary move- 
ment; and, when his defensive methods had suc- 
ceeded, he emerged as an adviser, and later as the 
principal adviser, of the Prussian Crown. 

Frederick William IV, who was King of Prus- 
sia during the revolutionary movement of '48, 
was a sovereign whose mind was from the first 
menaced and finally overwhelmed by that insan- 
ity which has continually attacked the Hohen- 
zollern dynasty. In 1857 he was compelled to 
abdicate the functions of ruler to his brother. In 
1861 he died, and this same brother succeeded 
him as King under the title of William I. 

William I was, on the whole, the best of the 
Hohenzollems. From the b^inning of the Dan- 
ish trouble, when he would keep repeating the in- 
contestable but (as it seemed to Bismarck) 



44 The Prussian Hath Said in His Heart 

wholly irrelevant remark : "I have no right to 
Holstein," to the day of his final triumph, when 
his personal intervention forbade the Pmssians 
to hang the Mayor of Versailles, he was always 
annoying or embarrassing his great counsellor by 
exhibiting inconvenient symptoms of a sense of 
honour. Yet it was in his reign that some of the 
worst piracies and frauds of Prussia were com- 
mitted. 

That fact is not without interest since it il- 
lustrates in another aspect the fixed character of 
the Prussian State. It was a monarchy and vir- 
tually an autocratic monarchy, but not really a 
personal monarchy. The will of the individual 
king counted for almost as little as the will of 
the people. The Thing that governed and still 
governs Prussia was a tradition. The real auto- 
crat of Prussia had a signal advantage over all 
the other tyrants of the earth. He was dead. 

Of the policy of Bismarck we have a very full, 
and, on the whole, a fairly reliable account from 
his own pen. In the ordinary way one would 
not go to a criminal for the truth about his 
crimes. But the very curious psychology of ^Bis- 
marck enables us to trust him in the main as to 
facts. On the one hand he waB a man who, other 
things being equal, preferred telling the truth to 



The Wars of Anti-Christ 45 

lying, and, on the other, the enormous gap in his 
conscience, where politics were concerned, made 
it possible for him to confess without a thought 
of apology to actions of which a West Indian 
buccaneer would have been slightly ashamed. 
He will sometimes distort facts and argue spe- 
ciously to cover his errors of judgment; but 
hardly ever to cover his violations of morals. 
The very words had, in such a connection, no 
meaning for him. 

The principal aim of Bismarck's policy or, to 
speak more exactly, of the traditional policy 
which Bismarck inherited and carried forward 
with such marked success, was the imposition on 
all Germany of the Prussian yoke. Germany 
first, and then, perhaps, Europe was to be remade 
in the image of that Atheist State which the 
great Frederick had imagined and within the 
limits of his own Kingdom, achieved. 

To suppose that Bismarck was seeking merely 
the national unity of Germany is entirely to mis- 
understand the man and his policy. Unity, if 
that were all, could have been achieved in 1848, 
when the Frankfort Convention demanded it and 
was even ready to place the Federal Crown on 
the head of the King of Prussia if he would re- 
ceive it at their hands. The offer was refused. 



46 The Prussian Hath Said in His Heart 



Not unity but domination was what Prussia was 
seeking, and domination^ even with a Hohenzol- 
lem on the Imperial throne, would at that date 
have met with active resistance and have failed. 
It required long years of tortuous diplomacy and 
three carefully engineered wars to prepare the 
ground for it and make it possible. Bismarck 
sometimes used for public purposes the cant of 
German Nationalism, but you will find nothing 
but the chilliest contempt for it and its profes- 
sors in his private reminiscences. 

One of the first problems with which Bismarck 
was faced was a legacy left behind, to his people's 
undoing, by the worst of Frederick's crimes — 
the partition of Poland. The ever-living agony 
of the nation that was murdered, yet could not 
and cannot die, was again producing disturb- 
ances dangerous to the partitioning Powers and 
to all Europe. The Tsar was weary of his part 
in the evil inheritance, of all the woes it had 
brought him and his people. The wiser Russian 
statesmen were for a policy of conciliation, and 
Alexander II, a reformer, the liberator of the 
serfs, was disposed to listen to them. Bismarck 
himself tells us that ^^feeling in St. Petersburg 
remained for a good while undecided, being dom- 
inated in about equal measure by absolutist prin- 



The Wars of Anti-Ckrist 47 

ciples and Polish sympathies." Meanwhile Aus- 
tria, France and England were urging the Tsar 
to grant the Poles a Constitution with liberty 
for their religion and their language. It was 
Prussia that threw her whole weight into the 
other scale and ultimately determined the issue. 

Bismarck makes no attempt to disguise either 
the fact or the motives that prompted it. He 
writes: — 

The conflict of opinion was very lively in St. Peters- 
burg when I left that capital in April 1862, and it so 
continued throughout my first year of ofiSce. I took 
charge of the Foreign Office under the impression that 
the insurrection which had broken out on January 1st, 
1863, brought up the question not only of the interests 
of our eastern provinces but also the vrider one, 
whether the Russian Cabinet was dominated by Polish 
or Anti-Polish proclivities, by an effort after Busso- 
Polish fraternization in the Anti-German Pan-Slavish 
interest or by one for mutual reliance between Russia 
and Prussia. 

In the end Bismarck got his way. A military 
convention was entered into between the two 
Gtovemments. The Tsar promised not to give a 
Constitution to Poland, and the King of Prussia 
guaranteed the help of the Prussian troops in the 
task of suppressing the Polish insurgents. In 
the face of this armed menace the Powers which 
had been pressing for a generous policy found it 



48 The Prussian Hath Said in His Heart 



necessary to retreat. The cause of Poland, both 
at Warsaw and Posen, was lost. 

The situation, together with the part played 
by Prussia in regard to it, reproduced itself very 
nearly in 1905 ; and there is a special reason for 
recalling it to-day. There are those who are dis- 
posed to be sceptical about the sincerity of the 
Tsar's promise of freedom to a united Poland. 
The attitude is not unintelligible in the light of 
many things that have happened in the past, but 
those who adopt it ought to weigh well the very 
significant fact that their doubts are not shared 
by those Polish Nationalists who have spent their 
whole lives in resisting the Russian Government 
and protesting against Russian rule. They are 
the last people in the world who are likely to be 
sentimentally credulous about the deeds and 
words of their life-long opponents; yet they are 
one and all enthusiastic for the war, and look 
upon it as a war of certain liberation for their 
country. The explanation is, of course, that 
the Poles know the history of the trouble and the 
English generally do not They know that Rus- 
sian opinion, even Russian official opinion, has 
always been strongly divided on the Polish ques- 
tion, that there has always been in the highest 
places, in the palace itself, an active and influ- 



The Wars of Anti-Christ 49 

ential Pro-Polish party which has more than once 
nearly had its way; they also know that the 
steady and relentless influence which has ever 
thwarted such hopes has been the determined op- 
position of the ruling house of Prussia, the orig- 
inal instigators of the dismemberment and the 
untiring supporters of the oppression of Poland 
ever since. And they know that the war which 
has broken Prussian influence in Bussia forever, 
and has already given a native name to the Rus- 
sian capital, must inevitably have meant the res- 
urrection of Poland, even if no promise of any 
kind had been given. 

In the matter of Poland Prussia intervened as 
the supporter of an old wrong ; but she was soon 
to show that she had by no means lost her api>e- 
tite for committing new ones. She was already 
looking round for some one whom she could 
easily and profitably rob. Her eye fell on the 
small and inoffensive Kingdom of Denmark. 

There is no need to apologize for so stating the 
case, for it is practically the way in which the 
chief conspirator himself stated it. In public 
and in treating with other nations Bismarck 
might find it convenient to put forward many 
more or less inconsistent excuses for his policy, 
pleading now that he was protecting the op- 



50 The Prussian Hath Said in His Heart 



pressed German population of Holstein, whose 
immemorial rights he subsequently treated as 
waste paper; now that he was merely carrying 
out the decision of the German Confederation 
whose judgment, when almost immediately after- 
wards given against him, he dismissed with con- 
tempt; affecting at one time a concern for the 
wrongs of the Prince of Augustenbei^, whose 
cause, as soon as it had served its turn, he was to 
abandon without scruple ; and at another a sense 
of loyalty to his Austrian ally whom, as soon as 
the alliance had ceased to be profitable, he was to 
attack without remorse. But at the counsel 
board such hypocrisies were put aside. Here 
are his own words : — 

The gradations which appeared attainable in the 
Danish question, every one of them meaning for the 
duchies an advance to something better than existing 
conditions, culminated, in my judgment, in the acqui- 
sition of the duchies by Prussia, a view which I 
expressed in a council held immediately after the death 
of Frederick VII. I reminded the King that every 
one of his immediate ancestors, not even excepting his 
brother, had won an increment of territory for the 
state; Frederick William IV had acquired Hohen- 
zollem and the Jahde district ; Frederick William III, 
the Rhine province; Frederick William II, Poland; 
Frederick II, Silesia ; Frederick William I, Old Hither 
Pomerania ; the Great Elector, Farther Pomerania and 



The Wars of Anti-Christ 61 

Magdeburg, Minden, etc.; and I encouraged him to 
do likewise. 

To pick a q^uarrel with Denmark was not dif- 
ficult, nor was it difficult to find a cause of quar- 
rel in which Prussia might look for the support 
of the Germanies as a whole. The King of Den- 
mark was also Duke of Schleswig-Holstein, and 
as such a member of the German Confederation. 
The population of one of these duchies was al- 
most wholly, that of the other partly, German. 
It was the policy of the Danish royal family to 
incorporate the duchies more and more with their 
kingdom, a policy to which German feeling was 
naturally hostile. The long, simmering quarrel 
which had already produced one short and in- 
decisive war was sharply revived by the death of 
King Frederick VII. The Danish contention 
was that the duchies should descend as a matter 
of course with the Danish Crown. The German 
Powers maintained that the succession had noth- 
ing to do with Denmark, and was a matter for 
the Germanic body. A pretender was brought 
forward in the person of the Prince of Augusten- 
berg and backed more or less by all the German 
States. Meanwhile Bismarck cared little for the 
Germanic body and nothing at all for the Prince 



52 The Prussian Hath Said in His Heart 



of Augustenberg. His views on the Danish ques- 
tion were simply those of an enlightened burg- 
lar. But the Bund and the Prince were alike 
useful to him at the moment and he used them 
both. 

To cut a long story short, the result of the in- 
trigues was that the Danes found their country 
invaded by the united armies of Prussia and Aus- 
tria. 

Matters would probably never have reached 
that stage, but for the belief prevalent among the 
Danes, and deliberately encouraged by Bismarck 
himself, that England and France would in the 
last resort protect them against the high-handed 
violence of the Germanic powers. The hope 
proved unfounded. Palmerston would have 
liked to have saved Denmark, but in fact he only 
hastened her ruin. Though at the height of his 
power and though possessed of a physical vigour, 
which in view of his age struck men as miracu- 
lous, his judgment, as I think those who study the 
story of his last Ministry will feel, was not what 
it had been in 1840, in 1848, and in 1854. He 
became querulous and a prey to what seem to 
have been unfounded suspicions, especially in re- 
gard to the Emperor Napoleon, who had once 
been his ally and whom he had been the first to 



The Wars of Anti-Christ 68 

congratulate on the coiip d^^tat These suspi- 
cions had led him, through an old friend to Pol- 
ish aspirations, to hang back when Napoleon III 
proposed to meet the armed menace of the Prus- 
sian military convention by a counter-menace. 
Napoleon was angry at what he considered a de- 
sertion, and his resentment led him to refuse ef- 
fective support over the Danish question. And 
Palmerston would not or could not move alone. 

Never was political cowardice and faithless- 
ness more justly and severely punished than in 
the case of the two powers which, being bound in 
honour and by treaty to defend Denmark, left 
her to her fate. Had France and England acted 
as became them in 1864, there would perhaps 
have been no Sedan. There would certainly 
have been no Kiel Canal. 

The Danes, deserted and hopelessly out- 
matched, put up a brave fight, but were, of course, 
soon crushed. Then it began to dawn on the vari- 
ous parties concerned, on the Austrian Govern- 
ment, on the States of the German Confedera- 
tion, as well as on the Prince of Augustenberg, 
that Prussia, having got her troops into the 
duchies, had no intention of ever taking them 
out again. Bismarck was not much concerned 
for the woes of the poor, duped pretender, who. 



54 The Prussian Hath Said in His Heart 

perhaps, did not deserve much sympathy, or for 
the protests of the Germanic Body, which he al- 
ways speaks of in his memoirs as a kind of joke. 
But Austria might be troublesome; so to Aus- 
tria propositions were made. Thinly veiled they 
amounted to this : that Austria should take one 
duchy and Prussia the other, and that the two 
should then tell the Prince of Augustenberg and 
the Germanic Body to go to the devil ! 

Austria refused this amiable proposal, and in- 
sinted on convoking the German Confederation. 
The Federation instantly and all but unani- 
mously voted Prussia guilty of a breach of faith, 
and an offence against the public law of Ger- 
many. Prussia's reply was a sudden and success- 
ful attack on her ally. 

Austria was unprepared. The preparations of 
Prussia had been made far in advance and were 
perfect. The new breech-loading needle guns 
would have been enough alone to decide the issue. 
A brief campaign, culminating in the battle of 
Sadowa, compelled Austria to sue for peace. 

Prussia was now free to have her will with the 
little German States that had sat in judgment 
on her, and she had it very thoroughly. Han- 
over, Hesse-Cassell, Nassau, the free city of 
Frankfort, and other northern allies of Austria, 



The Wars of Anti-Christ 65 

were deprived of their independence and annexed 
to Prussia. Saxony only escaped the same fate 
because the appeal of Austria on her behalf was 
backed by France. Those States which had not 
taken sides against Prussia were reduced to prac- 
tical vassalage though retaining technical inde- 
pendence. The Catholic States of the South^ 
Bavaria^ Wlirtemberg, Baden, had to purchase 
the integrity of their territory at the cost of ac- 
cepting a Prussian alliance, which was to prove, 
as it was meant to prove, fatal to the independ- 
ence and, at last, perhaps, to the soul of South 
Germany. In point of fact Austria's collapse, 
surrender and abandonment of her allies had de- 
livered all the Germanies into the Prussian grip. 
There was no longer an alternative. Every 
German State must now accept such terms of 
vassalage as Prussia offered, for it really de- 
pended on Prussia whether such a State should 
be allowed to exist at all. 

Thus was the way made clear for a German 
Empire of a very different kind from that 
planned some thirty years before at Frankfort 
— a German Empire in which the HohenzoUerns 
should not only reign but rule, and by means of 
which, under whatever forms might be necessary 
to disguise the process, Prussian government 



56 The Prussian Hath Said in His Heart 

should be forcibly imposed on the Germanies. 
Only one thing was necessary to complete the 
process; a foreign war in which the Germanies 
should fight under Prussian leadership and which 
should afford an excuse for imposing on them 
the Prussian military system. Bismarck was 
not likely to be long in supplying such a want 
He soon found a cause for a quarrel with France. 

The French diplomatists were by no means free 
from blame in the matter. They both under- 
rated the power and misunderstood the temper 
of the antagonist with whom they had to deal. 
They thought France far better prepared and 
Prussia far less well prepared for war than each 
respectively was. They do not appear to have 
known that the rest of the German States would 
be compelled to follow Prussia. Finally, by a 
fatal miscalculation, they imagined that Prussia 
wanted peace, whereas, in fact, though the Em- 
peror probably sought for peace honestly, the 
men who dominated Prussian policy, and espe- 
cially the greatest of them, were eager for 
war. 

As we now know, the formal dispute over the 
proposed candidature of a HohenzoUern for the 
vacant Spanish throne, would never of itself have 
led to war. The candidature had been with- 



The Wars of Anti-Christ 57 

drawn, and though Prance was pressing, rather 
rashly and over-emphatically, for further assur- 
ances, there was nothing even remotely approach- 
ing a threat of war. There was not a diplomatist 
in Europe who, after the withdrawal of the can- 
didature of Prince Leopold, did not expect and 
hope that there would be peace. Bismarck was 
only a partial exception. He expected and 
feared that there would be peace. 

So bitterly did Bismarck resent the satisfac- 
tory turn that events were taking that, as he him- 
self tells us, he had formed the intention of re- 
signing his office. He did not fulfil this inten- 
tion for, when his spirits were at their lowest, 
fortune brought him an extraordinary opportu- 
nity of which few men in history but he would 
have felt able to take advantage. In order to 
make impossible the peaceful settlement which 
he dreaded and deplored, he did a thing unprec- 
edented, I suppose, in all the shifty and dubious 
records of European diplomacy. He deliber- 
ately forged a public document. 

Bismarck was staying at Ems; his friends 
Moltke and Boon were with him. A telegram 
arrived sent to him by the orders of the King 
describing the progress of the negotiations with 
France. Its meaning was plain enough. It ex- 



58 The Prussian Hath Said in His Heart 

plained that the French Ambassador had asked 
for certain promises which the King had not felt 
able to give without further consideration, and 
Bismarck's advice was asked as to whether this 
incident of the negotiations should be communi- 
cated to the Press and to the Prussian envoys at 
foreign courts. It added that the King did not, 
at that stage of the proceedings, propose to have 
any further personal interviews with the Ambas- 
sador — ^the implication being, of course, that ne- 
gotiations would be continued through the or- 
dinary diplomatic channels. 

Bismarck took the telegram and with his own 
hand altered it in such a fashion as to utterly 
falsify its meaning and to make it appear that 
the French Ambassador had been dismissed from 
the Emperor's presence provocatively, if not with 
insult. Then he published it and sent it to the 
envoys. That the statement he sent to both was 
wholly false, and that the document he really re- 
ceived bore an entirely different meaning from 
that of the document he professed to produce is 
acknowledged in his own memoirs without the 
smallest attempt at concealment or apology. 
Nay, he recalls complacently how delighted 
Moltke was at the complete change which Bis- 
marck had affected in the sense of the telegram. 



The Wars of Anti-Christ 59 

^TNTow it has a diflferent ring," remarked that 
veteran soldier. 

The fraud succeeded. The French Ministers 
saw the telegram published by authority in the 
Press. They could not know that it was a for- 
gery. They did what Bismarck confessedly 
meant them to do. They declared war. 

It is unnecessary to say what followed. An 
amazing absence of foresight on the part of the 
Emperor and his advisers — though the "Lib- 
erals" in the new chamber must bear a share of 
the resi)onsibility — ^left the French defences 
quite insufficient. Even the new artillery to 
which Prussia had owed her victory over Austria 
was not adopted. A few weeks decided the war. 
France, indeed, both behind the walls of Paris 
and on the Loire, long continued a heroic and 
hopeless struggle. But the end was already cer- 
tain. France was saddled with a monstrous in- 
demnity, which her peasants paid with a readi- 
ness astonishing to those who knew nothing of 
the reserves of a free people. The inhabitants 
of two of her provinces were forced under an 
alien yoke made the more galling by the utter in- 
capacity of her conquerors for the work of their 
government. And for a generation all Europe 
lay at the feet of the Anti-Christ. 



CHAPTER IV 

THE WORSHIP OP THE BEAST 

It is inevitable that the events recorded in the 
last chapter should raise in the mind a question 
similar to that which was occasioned by the ex- 
ploits of Frederick the Great. Granted that the 
re-appearance of Prussia in the r61e of inter- 
national brigand is explicable by the persistence 
of the Prederician tradition, why was that brig- 
andage tolerated by Europe? Why did the three 
protesting powers fail to show the same readiness 
to use armed force for the defence of Polish lib- 
erty as Prussia showed to use that force for its 
repression? Why did England at the last mo- 
ment abandon Denmark to her fate? Why did 
Najwleon III permit, to his own ruin, the steam- 
rollering of the small German States and the 
erection of a huge and aggressive military mon- 
archy at his doors? Why did all the powers al- 
low France to be coerced into accepting the terms 
dictated by her conqueror? 
We have seen that in the eighteenth century 

60 



The Worship of the Beast 61 

the neglect of the Eupopeaa powers to combine 
at once against Frederick^ and the failure of that 
combination^ when they did attempt it, to achieve 
its end, may be attributed to the low ebb to which 
belief in ideals of any kind had fallen in Europe, 
to the preoccupation of her rulers with dynastic 
quarrels, and to the weakening and virtual dis- 
appearance of the conception of a united Chris- 
tendom by which nations could be judged. The 
nineteenth century had seen a resurrection of 
idealism. Foreign policy was no longer mainly 
dynastic in its aims. And, though unity was 
still unachieved, the idea of a common conscience 
of Europe was, as a fruit of the Revolution 
and its dogmas, much more familiar to men than 
in 1740. Yet nineteenth-century Europe did not 
make against Bismarck even such an effort as 
eighteenth-century Europe had made against 
Frederick. 

The explanation must be found, I think, mainly 
(though there were, of course, many accidental, 
contributory causes) in appearance and grow- 
ing strength, especially in Western Europe, of a 
certain doctrine and spirit as remote from the 
original ideals of the Revolution as it was un- 
chivalrous, and intensely unchristian. Though 
this thing began to be recognizable and even 



62 The Prussian Hath Said in His Heart 

recognised very soon after the end of the Na- 
poleonic wars, it was long before a name was 
found that defined it with any exactitude. A 
name has of late years been coined for it, a 
name with which etymologists will quarrel, but 
which perhaps expresses the idea sufficiently. 
We call it Pacifism. 

I have called this doctrine unchristian and 
in almost any country but this the expression 
would pass as a truism. It is noticeable that in 
Prance, for example, though the Revolution was 
emphatically a military thing, and its noblest as- 
pect the great legend of armed national resist- 
ance to an armed Europe, yet the only people 
whom Pacifism at all infected were those so- 
called "Radicals" and "Socialists" whose ruling 
passion was really a hatred of the Christian 
name. In England, however, where the doc- 
trine took its first and strongest hold, though 
generally popular with "Freethinkers" of various 
kinds, it found its main strength in those re- 
ligious sects which have departed farthest from 
the old creed of Christendom. The phrase may, 
therefore, appear paradoxical, and it may be well 
to amplify it. 

To my mind Pacifism seems merely a sort of 
allotropic modification of that Atheism which 



The Worship of the Beast 68 

Frederick the Great made the foundation of the 
Pinissian State. Its basis is materialistic; and 
in all its different forms of expression its ulti- 
mate appeal is always to one or two dogmas^ both 
of which are obviously dogmas of Materialism. 
One is that the sole test of national policy is its 
tendency to increase material wealth : the other 
is that of all evils those which men ought most 
to dread, avoid and feel a horror of inflicting, 
are physical pain and death. 

I have said that the new creed took its earliest 
and strongest hold in England; and in each of 
its main aspects it is more or less summed up in 
the personality and work of an Englishman of 
genius : the one a middle-class manufacturer, of 
extraordinary lucidity of mind and unequalled 
powers of exposition and persuasion, the other a 
young member of the squirearchy whose inca- 
pacity to think is to most of our minds redeemed 
by a power over the English language as an in- 
strument of mu3ic to which no parallel can be 
found in the whole history of our literature. 

Much as Richard Cobden hated war, it is 
doubtful if, but for the great war with which 
the nineteenth century opened, he would ever 
have become the European power that he un- 
doubtedly was. From that war, after Waterloo, 



64 The Prussian Hath Said in His Heart 

Great Britain emerged^ if not the first nation in 
Europe, at least the nation on whose evidences of 
power, prosperity and security the eyes of Europe 
were especially fixed. She enjoyed for many 
decades something of the prestige which, as we 
shall see, has belonged to Prussia since 1870. 
And this fact synchronized with three others. 
Firstly, the naval predominance which she had 
enjoyed throughout the war had given her for 
twenty years a virtual monopoly of over-sea 
trade; secondly, her capital, long ago conven- 
iently concentrated in the hands of a small 
wealthy class, was being used vigorously for the 
exploitation both of the mineral resources of the 
country and of those mechanical inventions 
which British genius had achieved a generation 
or so before; finally there had arisen in Eng- 
land and Scotland a succession of great men who 
laid the foundations of the science of political 
economy. 

Cobden was the child as well as the interpreter 
of these things. He was perfectly fitted for his 
task. What he saw he saw clearly, and could ex- 
pound with admirable lucidity. What he did not 
see, he simply did not see at all. He could see 
that it is of the essence of war to destroy wealth, 
just as he could see that protective tariffs neces- 



The Worship of the Beast 66 

sarily involve a diminution of wealth. To the 
national point of view from which both wars and 
tariffs may in particular eases be justified, even 
on materialistic grounds, by their ultimate re- 
sults, he was simply blind. It should be added 
that he had the strength which is derived from 
strict consistency and that he was (what was 
rare in a politician even then and would have 
been a miracle a generation or so later) really 
incorruptible. His influence on British policy, 
though indirect, and perhaps the more because it 
was indirect, was immense. 

The other man to whom I have referred, though 
infinitely inferior to Cobden in logical acumen, is 
not to be ignored. If we ask how a thousand 
follies and preposterous doctrines, from the 
wickedness of meat-eating to the legitimacy of 
wife-desertion (which have no more to do with 
democracy than cannibalism has ) , got mixed up 
with the demand for political and social justice, 
the answer, so far as England is concerned, 
will very often prove to be — Shelley. Shelley 
began life as a crude and dogmatic Atheist ; as he 
grew older his views became more complex or, as 
I should be inclined to say, more muddle-headed ; 
but they never, the assurances of pious divines 
notwithstanding, got any nearer to the historic 



66 The Prussian Hath Said in His Heart 

faith of Christendom. He had a keen sense of 
pity, which was highly honourable to him, but, 
since his philosophy remained at root materialist, 
he was, in striking contrast to the men of the 
Revolution and to Byron, more shocked at phy- 
sical suffering than at moral injustice. His 
marvellous genius as a poet gave imperishable 
endurance to his rather weak and wandering 
views ; and he became and still remains the chief 
prophet of sentimental Pacifism, just as Cobden 
provided an intellectual baais for rationalistic 
Pacifism. 

It may seem at first sight that I am dwelling 
too long on matters apparently irrelevant to my 
subject. It is, however, the very purpose of this 
book to show the triumph of Prussia as the tri- 
umph of a certain creed ; and in order to explain 
that triumph it is important to note that it was 
never plainly confronted with its true contrary, 
held equally confidently and equally ready to 
appeal to arms. The true opposite of the denial 
of right (which was the fundamental dogma of 
Prussia) was the assertion of right; if neces- 
sary, by force and at any cost of life and suffer- 
ing. But the doctrine which was more and more 
identified with "Liberalism" in Western Europe 
was not the assertion of right but its non-asser- 



The Worship of the Beast 67 

tion. Philosophically it was founded on the 
same first principle as was the Prussian doc- 
trine, as in practice it was its ally and accom- 
plice. For it is obvious that if there are two 
men, one of whom is always telling a brigand 
that he has a right to anything he can grasp and 
hold, while another is always telling victims of 
the brigand that it is wrong to resist brigandage 
or that it is much more profitable in the long run 
to avoid it by paying blackmail, then, however 
different the opinions of these men may seem to 
be, it is obvious that the effect which their action 
tends to produce is the same effect, namely, the 
profit of the brigand. 

Palmerston and Louis Napoleon, though cer- 
tainly neither of them Pacifists, had to allow for 
an element of Pacifism in the public opinion on 
which they relied, had always to reckon with it, 
often to compromise with it, sometimes to yield 
to it It was the boast of Cobden and his school 
that they prevented active intervention on behalf 
of Denmark, and the unprepared state in which 
the war of 1870 found the French defences was 
partly due to the fear which the Emperor had 
begun to feel of the Pacifist element which had 
already made its appearance in the new Chamber. 

If this was the case even before 1870, it was 



68 The Prusdan Hath Said in His Heart 

of course^ far more so after that date. The hold 
of Pacifism on the most obyious possible rivals 
of the new German Empire grew steadily greater. 
As the British Goyemment tended more and 
more to become a pure plutocracy supported 
by secret money payments, the Pacifist influence 
gained strength : for many of the Pacifists, both 
of the sentimental and of the calculating type, 
were immensely rich. The enormous increase in 
the power of cosmopolitan finance told in the 
same direction, for the de-nationalized men who 
ruled the money-market, though often favourable 
to small wars of aggression against the weak, 
dreaded the disturbance which a great war be- , 
tween equal European powers would cause. In 
France the extreme Republican party, which im- 
mediately after 1870 had been especially the 
champion of militant patriotism, became infected 
with the new doctrine, through its secret anti- 
Christian societies and its alliance with the Jews, 
and that doctrine seemed almost dominant po- 
litically until the first shot fired in the Vosges 
blew it away like smoke. 

Meanwhile Prussia and its political theory 
could now confront the world from the vantage 
ground of complete and unchallengeable success. 
Even Frederick the Great had been in no such 



The Worship of the Beast 69 

position of acknowledged superiority, for the 
peace which closed the Seven Years' War, though 
it gave Prussia a legal title to her stolen booty, 
had been of the nature of a compromise. Neither 
side was crushed or left prostrate. Now, how- 
ever, Prussia could claim that she had laid her 
principal rivals in the dust and established for 
herself a permanent dominion. Her victory over 
Austria virtually made all Germans her subjects. 
Her victory over France made all Europe believe 
her invincible in war and therefore a proper ob- 
ject of universal imitation. It may be well to 
take the two points separately before consider- 
ing their combined effect 

The Germans are a European people whose 
peculiarities for good and evil are fairly well 
known to those who have tried to analyse the 
complex which we call Europe. They are a peo- 
ple rather kindly and rather dreamy. They are 
not natural warriors like the French, or natural 
adventurers like the English. They have little 
taste and little aptitude for self-government or 
for those fierce political conflicts out of which 
alone self-government can come. They are fond 
of speculative thought, of musing freely on the 
mystery of things, but lack the sharp edge and 
decision of the Latin mind, which demands as 



70 The Prussian Hath Said in His Heart 

the end of thought a final conclusion and a 
dogma. They specially love, and can create, 
music. They are grave, sentimental and some- 
what deficient in humour. 

Such are the (Germans. Of such certainly is 
not the German Empire. The Oerman Empire is 
Prussian or, to speak perhaps more correctly, 
Frederician. It is an enlargement for which the 
original design of the Kingdom of Prussia sup- 
plied the working model. Not until it is de- 
stroyed will the Germans again be able to make 
their contribution — an admittedly valuable con- 
tribution — to European civilisation. 

Theoretically the German Empire is federal, 
and the King of Prussia merely happens also to 
be German Emperor. In fact, the governing ma- 
chine of Prussia dominates the whole of the 
Germanies, and the means by which this domina- 
tion is secured are essentially the same as those 
which served to maintain the original Prussian 
monarchy. The chief instrument in each case 
has been the Army. 

The army of the German Empire is not, of 
course, of quite the same type as that which 
Frederick commanded. It is not a professional, 
but a conscript, army ; and in tiie ordinary way it 
would be much more difficult to make of a con- 



The Worship of the Beast 71 

script army an instrument fitted for the complete 
control and subjugation of a people than if the 
army constitutes a special class in the State. 

In Germany, however, the thing has been done, 
and the more carefully the present military sys- 
tem of the empire is examined, the more we shall 
see that that system is elaborately devised to 
secure the great masses of armed men which 
modem warfare requires without sacrificing that 
quality of absolute and terrorized subservience 
which the Prussian ideal even more urgently de- 
mands. 

Firstly, it is not true of the German Empire as 
it is of the French Republic, that every man is a 
trained soldier. The troops who have been sub- 
jected to the severe and even savage discipline 
which the Prussian military system demanded 
and who constitute the real effective army of the 
Empire, are drawn for practical purposes entirely 
from the labouring class and mainly from the 
rural labouring class. In all other classes ex- 
emptions are always numerous. Those of the 
wealthier classes who do not get off their service 
altogether are allowed to serve in volunteer corps 
under merely formal restrictions, living as they 
choose and only bound to put in a certain number 
of drills. It is the Prussian theory — ^we have 



72 The Prussian Hath Said in His Heart 

seen it in action during this war — ^that such 
practically untrained men could be made into 
effective soldiers during the progress of a cam- 
paign if brigaded with a sufficient number of 
thoroughly disciplined troops. Moreover, the 
size of the German population makes it possible 
for the Oerman commanders, without prejudice 
to the political principle upon which this arrange- 
ment was based, to put into the first line as many 
effectives as France could provide after forcing 
every able-bodied citizen into the ranks. 

The army so formed was officered by men 
drawn exclusively from the ruling class, still 
mainly aristocratic, though containing a pluto- 
cratic element. Promotion from the ranks was 
unknown. The officer was always a man of a 
certain station who had adopted a military career 
as a profession. The all-important non-commis- 
sioned officers, the sergeants, were also profes- 
sional, though, of course, men of another class. 
It was their special business to insure the disci- 
pline and break the spirit of successive drafts of 
conscripts. 

For the essential character of Prussian dis- 
ciplinary methods was in no way changed by the 
transition from a professional to a conscript 
army. Terror was still the single weapon used 



The Worship of the Beast 78 

to enforce obedience, and it was and is still found 
an effective one. Of its reaction on the efficiency 
of the German soldier I shall speak later. Here 
I only wish to emphasise the fact that the prin- 
ciples upon which the Oerman armies were and 
are governed are still the same as the principles 
upon which Frederick the Great relied when the 
army of Prussia first became formidable to Eu- 
rope. 

An army so governed was evidently a most 
effective defence not only against foreign but 
against domestic enemies. With such an army 
at its absolute disposal the Prussian Government 
had certainly the less cause to care what the 
theory of the Constitution might be. In theory, 
as I have said, Prussia was only one State of 
the Empire whose King happened to be its titular 
head. In practice the Prussian ruling class 
ruled the army, and the army ruled the Empire. 
That class had as little cause to fear the Reich- 
stag as Frederick II had to fear libellers and mal- 
contents. The iron discipline of the army and 
the naturally un warlike character of the German 
peoples was sufficient security. The army alone 
could act, and the army would always act as the 
King of Prussia directed. "They can say what 
they like, but I can do— what I like." 



74 The Prussian Hath Said in His Heart 

So much for the first canse of the suceesflful 
Prussian hegemony, which mainly affected Ger- 
many. The second also had a great effect on the 
smaller German States, but its effect on Europe 
as a whole was hardly less. 

When one examines impartially the military 
victories of Prussia between 1860 and 1870, one 
does not see that there was anything so very 
extraordinary to boast about Prussia in alli- 
ance with Austria and with the backing of all the 
minor German States, had succeeded in break- 
ing the little Kingdom of Denmark. That, cer- 
tainly, was no great achievement. Subsequently 
Prussia had defeated Austria. In that campaign 
Prussia had certainly shown that she was far 
better prepared for war than her rival. But the 
task was no very difficult one, and proved more 
against the military efficiency of Austria than 
for the military prowess of Prussia. What af- 
fected the public imagination was undoubtedly 
the defeat of France, and the defeat of France 
had undoubtedly about it a certain dramatic 
quality. But if any one will compare it with 
some of the historic wars of Christendom — ^with 
some of the victories of France for instance, from 
the days of Louis XIV to those of Napoleon — ^it 
will not seem so enormous a thing. The fortune 



The Worship of the Beast 76 

of war went against the French and Paris wag 
taken. Tet the French in their time have taken 
nearly every capital in Europe, from Moscow to 
Madrid, not excepting Berlin. What was there 
about the German triumph which so peculiarly 
and so much to its hurt impressed the mind of Eu- 
rope? 

I think that the answer may be found in a 
temperamental peculiarity perhaps native to the 
Germans which their Prussian rulers have as- 
siduously encouraged — the trick of self-praise. 
Even before their victory, and still more after it, 
the Germans were taught to regard themselves 
demonstrably superior to all their neighbours. 
They believed it, and sooner or later their neigh- 
bours came to believe it also. This was specially 
the case in England. 

In this country, indeed, the ground had already 
been prepared for the acceptance of such a belief. 
Long before 1870 we had contrived a method by 
which in flattering the Germans we could also 
flatter ourselves. The Germans were our " cous- 
ins." They were our fellow "Teutons.'^ If, 
therefore, they were such fine fellows, there was 
a presumption that we were fine fellows too. All 
history was ransacked and distorted to support 
this view of our relationship. The usual form 



76 The Prussian Hath Said in His Heart 

which 8uch distortion took waa the laying of an 
extravagant emphasis on the most obscure and 
largely legendary part of our history, on those 
dark and anarchic centuries when, as we con- 
jecture, a certain (probably small) number of 
North Sea pirates and revolted German mercen- 
aries achieved a measure of political power and, 
perhaps, a certain infusion of new blood in the 
deserted province of Britain. Nay, it actually 
became a part of English patriotism to prefer 
this dingy and unattractive origin for our nation 
to the grandeur of a highly civilised part of the 
Roman Empire. The trick was worked by a 
curious circular argument. If you doubted our 
exclusively "Anglo-Saxon" origin you were asked 
how you dared to deny the great, handsome, 
valorous, freedom-loving, woman-worshipping 
Anglo-Saxons were our ancestors. If you replied 
that you saw no particular reason to believe that 
the Anglo-Saxons were any more great, hand- 
some, valorous, and the rest than their neigh- 
bours, and proceeded to point out that the Roman 
legionaries from whom many of us may well be 
descended had a certain reputation for valuable 
military qualities, you were asked how you dared 
to suggest that our noble Anglo-Saxon ancestors 
were inferior to mere foreigners. Carlyle, a man 



The Worship of the Beast 77 

of g^iius, instmctiyely hostile to the Latin spirit, 
and full of an honourable enthusiasm for German 
literature, lent the powerful aid of his vivid pen. 
As Charlemagne had become Earl der Grosse 
(his descent from a noble patrician house of Nar- 
bonne being tactfully passed over), so such an 
obvious Frenchman as William of Falaise be- 
came, on the strength of the one sixty-fourth 
part of Scandinavian blood which he may per- 
haps have inherited, ^'the Crowned Northman." 
How far all this was due to pseudo-science and 
a crude interpretation of philology, how far to the 
political alliance of England and Germany 
against the Revolution and Napoleon, how far to 
a religious sympathy between the English and the 
North Germans as the two principal peoples who 
had, though at a different time and for different 
reasons, rejected the Catholic Church, it would be 
difficult to say. But it is certain that before 1870 
Teutonism was predominant in England. The 
war of 1870 confirmed its dominance, for therein 
the legend so dear to Carlyle and Eingsley of the 
triumphant Teuton and the vanquished Latin 
was enacted under our own eyes. Of course, it 
was a mere coincidence. The Germans won, not 
because they were Teutons, but because at that 
particular time they happened to have a better 



78 The Prussian Hath Said in His Heart 

general, a better military organisation, and, 
above all, better artillery. But the coincidence 
wag too marked not to make a profound impres- 
sion on those already predisposed to find Ten- 
tons efficient and Latins decadent. That im- 
pression became an all but universal dogma, and 
even survived the change of foreign policy which 
made us the allies of the French and the antag- 
onists of the Oerman Empire. Nay, that change 
was largely recommended to us on the ground 
that it would be heartless to leave the poor 
French who, being Latins, were doomed to defeat, 
to confront unaided the gigantic power of Gter- 
many. It lasted down to the very moment of 
war, and I cannot better illustrate its character 
than by taking a book written just before the 
outbreak of that war and published after the 
author's death only the other day. 

It is called Oermany and England and con- 
sists of lectures delivered by the late Professor 
J. A. Cramb reprinted from his notes. It is de- 
scribed on the cover as " A Reply to Bemhardi,'' 
but this sub-title seems singularly inappropriate, 
and I cannot but doubt whether Professor Cramb 
would have accepted it as a fair description of 
his work. So far from being a reply to Bem- 
hardi, the book seems to me to be a whole-hearted 



The Warship of the Beast 79 

welcome to Bemhardi, an enthusiastic endorse- 
ment of Bemhardi^ an embracing of Bemhardi's 
beautiful big boots. All the silly nonsense that 
Bemhardi talks, whenever he is dealing with 
matters outside the immediate scope of his pro- 
fession, is here reverently reproduced and humbly 
accepted as a proper guide for the future develop- 
ment of European civilisation. 

Professor Cramb, as his introductory chapter 
tells us, set before himself the true purpose of 
every writer on contemporary history ; nor could 
I improve on the words in which he defined it. 
"What, then, is my purpose?*' he asked. "I an- 
swer in the words of a German historian, 'To 
see things as in very deed they are.'" His 
theory was excellent; his practice, I think, open 
to criticism. 

Recent events have enabled us to see both Ger- 
many and Europe "as in very deed they are" more 
clearly than was formerly possible. We can 
safely say, for example, that the German Empire 
at the time when Professor Cramb was writing, 
possessed in reserve a very large and powerful 
army, smaller than that of Russia, but somewhat 
larger than that of France — ^though it had not, 
like France, given every able-bodied male a real 
training in arms ; that this army was perfectly 



80 The Prussian Hath Said in His Heart 

equipped and prepared, so far as mechanical 
means could prepare it, for the aggressive war 
which the Prussian Oovemment had long medi- 
tated ; that it was admirably disciplined so that 
its members could be relied upon to carry out 
systematically any commands given to them — 
even to the extent of actions so repugnant to the 
traditional military spirit as the killing of women 
and small children ; that, on the other hand, these 
troops suffered from some serious disadvantages, 
as, for example, that they lacked the power of 
personal initiative, that they could not be induced 
to attack in other than close formation, that their 
individual marksmanship was bad, and that they 
were not able to confront anything like an equal 
number of French or English soldiers in hand- 
to-hand fighting with the bayonet; that Germany 
had a sfege artillery more powerful than any in 
Europe, which was excellently served, and a con- 
siderable superiority in machine guns, while its 
field artillery was inferior to that of France both 
in quality and handling. Apart from military 
matters, it might be said that a carefully and 
patriotically devised fiscal system had assisted 
the German Empire to a great industrial de- 
velopment, not, however, without some loss to 
vital interests, a peasant population having in 



The Warship of the Beast 81 

many parts been converted into an urban prole- 
tariat It might quite safely be added that Prus- 
sia (and Germany^ so far as it was Prussianized) 
had lost such power of thinking as it ever pos- 
sessed, and had become altogether incapable of 
literature and of the plastic arts. In these de- 
partments it had little to offer but a choice be- 
tween vulgar pomposity and equally vulgar and 
generally somewhat perverted pornography. 

That is a fair statement of the truth about 
Prussianized Germany, "as indeed it is." Now 
listen to the late Professor Cramb: — 

And here let me say with regard to Germany that of 
all England's enemies she is by far the greatest; and 
by ** greatness" I mean not merely magnitude, nor her 
millions of soldiers, her millions of inhabitants ; I mean 
grandeur of soul. She is the greatest and most heroic 
enemy — if she is our enemy — that England, in the 
thousand years of her history, has ever confronted. 
In the sixteenth century we made war upon Spain, and 
the Empire of Spain. But Germany in the twentieth 
century is a greater power, greater in conception, in 
all that makes for human dignity, than was the Spain 
of Charles V and Philip II. In the seventeenth cen- 
tury we fought against Holland; but the Germany of 
Bismarck and the Kaiser is greater than the Holland 
of De Witt. In the eighteenth century we fought 
against France ; and, again, the Germany of to-day is 
a higher, more august power than France under Louis 
XIV. 



82 The Prussian Hath Said in His Heart 

Well, sixteenth century Spain discoyered 
America. She conquered with a handful of men 
all the southern part of that hemisphere. She 
accomplished a miracle which had not been at- 
tempted since the Roman Empire and which has 
perhaps never been successfully attempted again ; 
she welded a whole continent of barbaric tribes 
into the civilisation of Europe so effectively that 
that civilisation even survived her own downfall. 
She also produced the pictures of Velasquez and 
Murillo, the plays of L6pez and Calder6n, the 
great satire of Cervantes. 

The France of Louis XIV was not only the 
greatest power in Europe in arms and diplomacy, 
but incomparably the greatest in letters. She 
could boast of the whole cycle of classical dram- 
atists, of the comedies '>f Moli^re, of the philos- 
ophy of Descartes, of the theology of Bossuet 
and Pascal. The ruling class of Europe every- 
where learnt her language, her code of manners, 
her literary traditions. And Professor Gramb 
says that the present German Empire surpasses 
both not only in military resources but in 
"grandeur of soul." She has produced the 
17-inch Krupp howitzer, the materialist mythol- 
ogy of Professor Haeckel, the Biblical fancies of 
Professor Hamack, the public buildings of Ber- 



The Worship of the Beast 88 

lin, several statues of Bismarck and the Kaiser 
and a large output of pornographic picture post- 
cards! 

Now, if you ask why Professor Cramb thought 
of the German Empire in so extravagant a fash- 
ion, why he thought the Germans such heroic fel- 
lows, I think that a careful examination of his 
book will prove that it was mainly because the 
Germans said so, and the Professor thought that 
they ought to know. At least, that is pretty well 
all the evidence he adduces. But he was not 
alone in his conviction. All England, and to a 
great extent all Europe, lay for nearly half a 
century under the spell of a sort of hypnotism : 
the joint effect of Prussian victories and Prussian 
self-glorification. 

Before we consider, as we shall have to con- 
sider in the next chapter, the effect of this on the 
Germans themselves, it may be well to summarize 
its effect upon Europe. It led to the general ac- 
ceptance of certain doctrines which Prussia had 
originated, and which in the triumph of Prussia 
seemed to triumph. They may be set out fairly 
succinctly. 

(1) Political Materialism. — That all mat- 
ters of politics, and especially all matters of war, 
are matters of calculation. That personal valour 



84 The Prusman Hath Said in His Heart 

coanto for nothing. That the sense of personal 
freedom and initiatiTe counts for nothing. Abore 
all^ that the energy created by the sense of fight- 
ing in a just cause counts for nothing. That if 
you add up the numbers and the quantity and 
quality of armaments you can prophesy the re- 
sult with virtual infallibility. It so happened 
that in 1870 the Prussian calculations and 
prophecies came out almost exactly right. Hence 
the wide acceptance of the Prussian theory in 
this matter. 

- (2) Predatory Imperialism. — This follows 
from the last thesis. Since war is a matter of 
calculation it is foolish for the weak to resist^ 
as it is natural for the strong to encroach. The 
use of the word ^^Imperialism" may cause some 
confusion, since that word has been used in this 
country sometimes in the Prussian and some- 
times in a wholly different sense. Many of us 
have called ourselves Imperialists, meaning that 
we wished to make the connection between this 
country and the commonwealths and dominions 
which British energy and the British spirit of 
adventure have created throughout the world 
closer and more effective. That has obviously 
nothing to do with the doctrine stated above, with 
which, however, our country by no means escaped 



The Worship of the Beast 85 

infection during the long years of Prussian su- 
premacy. 

(3) The Denial of Right. — This, as we hare 
seen, was the original theory of Frederick the 
Great, on which the whole policy of Prussia was 
built It certainly spread beyond the borders 
of the German Empire. That strong men might 
violate ordinary morals without offence, that 
treaties might be broken and promises repudiated 
by a nation bent on fulfilling its "Destiny" — these 
ideas were widely canvassed. Even Bismarck's 
forgery found defenders in England. 

(4) The Efficiency of Servitude. — By this I 
mean the theory, held to be more or less justified 
by the issue of the Franco-Prussian War, that a 
people is the more effective for military and other 
purposes in proportion as it is reduced to a con- 
dition of unquestioning obedience to the regula- 
tions framed by their rulers. In other words, 
that the way to make a strong nation is to make 
a servile people. This essential Prussian con- 
ception is one to which I have referred only in- 
cidentally in these pages, and which in view of 
the extent to which it has permeated the thought 
of Europe, deserves more careful exposition. 

Matthew Arnold in the most fascinating of all 
his books, Friendship's Garland notes a con- 



86 The Prussian Hath Said in His Heart 

temporary reference to "the complete subordina- 
tion to the State" of the Prussians of 1870, and 
puts it forward aa the explanation of their vic- 
tories and. a subject for English emulation. 
Arnold's object was, of course, to oppose the 
crude industrial anarchism of the dominant 
Manchester School, with which he was always 
and rightly at war. But it is not a little curious 
that he should hare fallen blindly into the very 
materialism — the "boundless faith in machinery" 
— ^against which he was always warning others. 
He could see that "liberty and publicity" might 
only m^an "liberty to make fools of yourselves 
and publicity to tell all the world that you are 
doing so." He could see that the value of self- 
government depended in part at least on whether 
the "best self of men was governing. But he 
could not apparently see — ^at least not at that mo- 
ment — that whether it was good or bad that men 
should be completely subordinated to the State 
depended on what kind of State it was to which 
they were subordinated. 

Now the subordination of the Prussians to the 
State had nothing in common with the Roman 
religion of civic patriotism or the high Republi- 
can enthusiasm of 1793 which suffered the Con- 
scription and the Terror that it might save 



The Worship of the Beast 87 

France from the stranger. It was not eren of 
the same type as that loyalty to one sacramental 
man as embodying the nation which inspired the 
Cavaliers and Jacobites of England, which made 
the French monarchy, and which still, in spite of 
a thousand errors and crimes, unites the Russians 
to their Tsar. It did not mean the fusing of the 
whole people into a conscious nation. It was 
purely servile. 

It would be absurd to attribute the whole drift 
of Europe towards the revival of slavery and 
the influence of Prussia. Mr. Hilaire Belloc has 
demonstrated with admirable lucidity in his 
Servile State that it is the inevitable form of 
stable equilibrium for a society in which the 
wealth is concentrated in a few hands and the 
mass of men are proletarian, unless that society 
can find within itself the energy necessary for 
redistribution. But Prussian supremacy un- 
doubtedly helped the movement of all industrial 
Europe in that direction, firstly, because Prussia 
was the country in which the Christian tradition 
was weakest, and consequently the return to the 
slave-basis of society which the Faith had de- 
stroyed, easiest ; secondly because it was the coun- 
try in which the new organisation of the social 
system on a servile basis had been pushed near- 



88 The Prussian Hath Said in His Heart 

est completion; and thirdly (and this was what 
counted for most) because the Prussians could 
IK>int to the unchallengeable fact of military vic- 
tory, a victory attributed by themselves and also 
by many foreign observers to the "discipline," 
that is to say the servility, of their social rela- 
tions. 

The consequence was that for forty years or 
more almost every attempt made in Europe to 
deal with the problems which we call "social" 
was made on Prussian lines and tended towards 
the clear Prussian objective — the division of all 
citizens into two classes — ^free and unfree. 
Lloyd George^s Insurance Act — the biggest step 
taken towards the Servile State in England — ^waa 
avowedly borrowed in its essentials from Prussia, 
and the attempt to introduce a similar system in 
France, after having been passed by the Chamber 
and blessed by M. Jaurte and the leading Social- 
ists, was defeated only by that popular resistance 
which the French are always ready to offer to 
laws that have no sanction from the national 
will. For many years every person interested in 
"Social Reform" (which our more simple fathers 
called "the Oppression of the Poor" ) haa always 
been able to secure a hearing for his nasty project 
by calling it "the Schultsmann System" or 



The Worship of the Beast 89 

"the Guggenheimer System/' op by pointing to 
the bright examples of Jena or K6penick or 
Hesse-Darmstadt. And all these projects, even 
when ostentatiously fathered by professed Social- 
ists, have had two things in common. They have 
been servile in their ultimate basis and assump- 
tion, and they have contained some insult to hu- 
man dignity, which is the image of God. 



CHAPTER V 

THB NEMBSIS 

Dantb^ I think, says somewhere of the Souls in 
Hell, that, being cut off from the source of Eter- 
nal Reason, they are unable to philosophise. 
The same is true of Prussians. 

A friend of mine once showed me an insane and 
entertaining book called Breaks which bore the 
even more entertaining subtitle: "Being the 
Falsifications of the One Thought of Frater Per- 
durabo, which Thought is Itself Untrue." That 
phrase suggests an excellent summary of what the 
Prussians call "German Culture." It consists of 
Falsifications of the One Thought of Frederick 
Hohenzollern, which Thought is Itself Untrue. 

The one thought of Frederick II was, of course, 
that there was no God, and that, in consequence, 
men had no moral responsibility. Now that 
thought is untrue; but it has another character 
which deserves notice. It is essentially a de- 
structive and barbaric thought, a thought which 
makes all further thought unnecessary and im- 

90 



The Nemesis 91 

possible, for clearly if there is no meaning in the 
Universe it is waste of time to enquire what it 
means, and if men may do just what they choose 
it is futile to discuss what they ought to do. The 
thought of Frederick, therefore, permitted of no 
true development, but only of falsification. The 
Prussians could rhetoricize about it; but they 
could not think about it, for there was nothing to 
think about. 

I put this point first in my attempt to analyse 
the process by which Prussia approached the sui- 
cide which we are now witnessing, because it is 
the keynote of that process. The Prussians de- 
liberately neglected the soul (in which Frederick 
the Great did not believe), and consequently in 
everything connected with the soul their work 
was simply bad of its kind. Their painting was 
bad painting, their architecture bad architecture, 
their music bad music. Especially was their 
thinking to the eyes of civilised men, bad think- 
ing. Like the Damned, they were cut oflf from 
the source of Eternal Reason and could not philo- 
sophise. 

Palmerston is said to have called Germany "a 
country of damned professors," and he was 
severely rebuked by Arnold and others for this 
illiberal sentiment. But Palmerston was largely 



02 The Priissian Hath Said in His Heart 

right, as such men are often right about essen- 
tials. The Germans are certainly not wiser or 
more learned or more concentrated on things of 
the mind than other peoples ; but they do seem to 
r^ard the mere title of Professor, quite apart 
from anything the particular man has to teach, 
with a mysterious veneration. The fame of Prus- 
sia's immense output of professors spread 
through Germany, and from Germany to all Eu- 
rope, and especially to England. The professors, 
as any one with a reasonable degree of culture 
and intelligence could see, were in many cases 
fools ; but that apparently did not matter. 

There was a man called Haeckel. He had at- 
tained some legitimate distinction as a careful 
student of the habits of the lower invertebrates, 
especially of jelly fish and sponges. On the 
strength of this he wrote a number of books in 
support of a creed of crude and dogmatic Ma- 
terialism. There was nothing in them that had 
not been said much more persuasively by Lucre- 
tius nearly two thousand years before. The only 
part of his work which could be regarded as in 
any way original was a complicated mythology 
wholly unconnected with any kind of evidence, in- 
cluding a Pedigree of Man, made up entirely out 
of his own head and possessing rather less scien- 



The Nemesis 98 

tific authority than the ancestrieB of the Homeric 
gods and heroes. But Haeckel was a German 
professor, and throughout Germany and to a 
great extent throughout Europe his ridiculous 
book was accepted as the last word in "Free 
Thought." 

Harnack had even less to offer than Haeckel. 
He had nothing so definite and intelligible aa Ma- 
terialism to preach. All that he had to say was 
that he liked some parts of the Gospels and dis- 
liked others; and that he was quite sure that 
Jesus Christ was responsible for the parts he 
liked but not for the parts he disliked. The 
parts he liked were, of course, those which 
could be twisted into a plea for cowardice. The 
parts he disliked were those which affirmed such 
inconvenient doctrines as the Being of God, Mir- 
acle and a Supernatural Authority by which man 
could be judged. Harnack was by no means 
without scholarship, but his knowledge of Greek 
had no relation to his conclusions, which were ad- 
mittedly based on his conception of the "psy- 
chology" of the principal Figure. Whenever Our 
Lord was reported as having spoken or acted 
otherwise than as a Prussian professor might 
have been expected to speak or act under the cir- 
cumstances, he scented an "interpolation." Pro- 



04 The Prtisrian Hath Said in His Heart 

fessor Hamack has recently been making 
speeches about England. Any one reading them 
can form a very representative idea of the sort of 
evidence and logic upon which he was formerly 
asked to deny his God. 

Then there was Treitschke. Treitschke was 
an historian. He had only one subject, the mag- 
nificence of himself and his fellow Prussians and 
the inferiority to them of the rest of mankind. 
Of this historical accuracy one may judge from a 
sample quoted by Professor Cramb from one of 
his hysterical diatribes against this country. 
England, he informs us, has only a mercenary 
army and has never had a national army except 
under Cromwell. Even Englishmen, who are not 
as a rule well-instructed in history, know that 
CromwelPs success was mainly due to the supe- 
riority of his very highly paid professional army 
over the old national militia. But Treitschke 
was also a Professor, and as such received the un- 
bounded homage of Bemhardi in Germany and of 
Professor Cramb in this country. 

Yet the breakdown of German thought which 
followed on the Prussianization of Germany can- 
not be illustrated adequately except by seeing it 
in relation to a man very different from these 
platitudinous barbarians, a man of wayward, 



The Nemem 95 

perverse and unbalanced, but unquestionable 
genius, — Friedrich Nietzsche. 

Nietzsche was not a Prussian. He was a Pole ; 
but a more or less Prussianized Pole, standing in 
something of the same relation to the two peoples 
as, say, Mr. Bernard Shaw stands to the English 
and the Irish. Such men are usually a little con- 
temptuous of the illusions often engendered by 
patriotism. They have little faith in the aspira- 
tions and longings of the nation from which they 
spring ; they have a measureless contempt for the 
boastful folly of their oppressors. Such a man 
was Nietzsche. Though he has been acclaimed as 
the chief prophet of Prussian Immoralism and 
even held responsible (by an exaggeration which 
yet contains a measure of truth), for the errors 
and crimes of modem Prussian policy, he hated 
and despised the Prussians. 

It would be interesting to speculate in the case 
of Nietzsche (as in that of Mr. Shaw) on what he 
might have become if he had inherited that re- 
ligion which is the soul of Poland as it is of Ire- 
land. But he missed that great influence as he 
largely missed the influence of nationality. He 
had nothing on which to feed his flaming and 
towering imagination except the dregs of Darwin- 
ism, which were interpreted by Prussian philos- 



06 The Prussian Hath Said in His Heart 

ophers as a crude Materialism, and by Prussian 
moralists and politicians as a justification of 
egotism and oppression. 

I have spoken of this dingy culture as the food 
of his imagination rather than as the foundation 
of his creed ; for in truth Nietzsche had no creed. 
You cannot get from him any consecutive philoso- 
phy ; and you can quote him on almost every side 
of eveiy question. He could not reason coher- 
ently on a Darwinian or any other basis. His 
most characteristic aphorism : "Nothing is true, 
everything is permissible," obviously puts an end 
to all reasoning. He often saw neglected truths, 
as did Oarlyle, by a flash of instinct apparently 
unconnected with any process of logic. What is 
truest in his teaching may perhaps be best ex- 
pressed in words which are not his, but belong to 
another great phrase maker, Robert Louis Steven- 
son: — "This civilisation of ours is a dingy un- 
gentlemanly business ; it drops so much out of a 
man." Though, like Stevenson, an invalid (per- 
haps because of that misfortune) , he had real en- 
thusiasm for heroism and for the great human 
epic of arms. He had a wonderful art, a start- 
ling gift of vivid and pungent phrases ( "Men do 
not really desire happiness ; only Englishmen do 
that") and he was an admirable rhetorician. 



The Nemesis 97 

But above all he was a poet, with an Imagination 
which could so vivify and transfigure his material 
as to produce not a feebly depressing mythology- 
like HaeckePs pedigrees, but a Great Myth, a 
thing which, however irrational, men could wor- 
ship — the Superman. 

This fancy of a creature to be evolved from 
Man which should eclipse Man as Man had 
eclipsed the lower animals, is not, as I say, a 
logical deduction from any possible theory of 
Evolution. If Man is to be considered simply as 
one of the animals, and we are accordingly to 
expect him to be supplanted, it is not, on the 
analogy of the past, probable that he will be sup- 
planted by his own evolved offspring. Man was 
not, according to Darwin, the descendant of the 
Monstrous Eft that was lord of valley and hill, 
but of some insignificant creature that was hop- 
ping about between its toes, and if "Man is a crea- 
ture that must be surpassed," it would seem on 
the same analogy that he is more likely to be ex- 
terminated by some pretematurally intelligent 
toad or by some creature resembling Mr. Wells^ 
Martians. Nietzsche's conception was a purely 
imaginative one. Such as it was, he used it as a 
fantastic argument for aristocracy. The many 
must be utterly and ruthlessly sacrificed to the 



98 The Prtissian Hath Said in His Heart 

few, because from the few the Superman would be 
bom. 

It was the weakness of Nietzsche as a thinker 
that he could never answer a plain question, and 
one of the elementary questions he never an- 
swered was, who vyere the "few,^' the potential 
fathers of the Superman, to whom the many were 
to be sacrificed. But as it happened, there was 
one group of men in Europe that had no difSculty 
at all in supplying the answer. This was the rul- 
ing caste of Prussia. When they discovered 
Nietzsche, after a long neglect, they were, we may 
imagine, quite incapable of understanding nine- 
tenths of what he said. But the part about the 
New Aristocracy was clear. "He says," we may 
suppose them saying, "that they are Brave ; that 
they are Beautiful; that they are Incomparably 
Wise; that they are Ever Victorious. Who can 
this mean but Us? Are We not Brave and Beau- 
tiful and Wise and Victorious? Have We not 
told each other so for many years? Therefore 
We are the Master Class and the predestined an- 
cestors of the Superman. And therefore the rest 
of mankind exist only as means to Our end, as 
servile material for Us to use." 

It must have been maddening for poor Nietzs- 
che to have his Superman identified with the 



The Nemem 99 

Prussiiaii Junker. It wa8 like asking Mr. Shaw 
to recognise him in Thomas Broadbent Perhaps 
it really drove him mad. Anyhow, he died in an 
asylum. 

And yety in truth, it was the people who locked 
Nietzsche up who deserved that fate at least as 
much as he. For the man who thinks thus of 
himself, who sees himself as patently superior to 
all other men, and who even persuades himself 
that other men so see him, is mad. He may com- 
mand armies, he may bring huge guns into the 
field, his palace may overtop all the palaces of the 
world. But he is mad. He is suffering from de- 
lusions. He is seeing the thing that is not there. 
For him there is in the long run no crown but the 
crown of straw with which Peer Qynt was at last 
crowned Emperor of Himself in the Egyptian 
madhouse. For him at the last there is no palace 
save the padded cell. 

That the history of Prussia after 1870 was 
simply the history of a whole nation going slowly 
and systematically mad was not apparent for 
many years, but it was not long before one fact 
appeared : the fact that the Prussian, though he 
might raid and conquer and annex, could not 
govern. 

To so govern a people of different blood and 



100 The Prussian Hath Said in His Heart 

traditions from your own that they accept your 
rule, and even come to feel conscious attachment 
to it, is no easy task, but the thing can be done 
and has been done. The Bomans did it with 
every people they ruled, except one, and that one 
the mysterious race which no Empire has been 
able to absorb, the Jews. The Spaniards did it 
in South America. The English have done it, at 
least to some extent, in India. The striking ex- 
ample of its success is Alsace, where scarcely 
more than two centuries ago — only about a cen- 
tury ago as regards Mulhouse — the French took 
over the rule of a German-speaking people and in 
a few generations made them so passionately 
loyal to France that their loyalty holds firm to- 
day after forty years of enforced separation. To 
no nation that cannot act thus can conquest and 
Empire bring any permanent advantage. 

To the Prussian ruler such action is perma- 
nently impossible; he cannot even see why it 
should be attempted. His own government is 
based on force and nothing else. By force and 
nothing else he seeks to impose it on others. If 
he meets a steady resistance of the popular will 
which force cannot overcome, then — ^more force. 
The consequence is that every foreign population 
which Prussia seeks to rule is in a state of chronic 



The Nemesis 101 

convulsion and suppressed civil war. All sen- 
sible Englishmen r^ard our mismanagement of 
Ireland as the worst blot on our record for states- 
manship and humanity. Well, the Prussian pos- 
sessions are all Irelands, eighteenth-century Ire- 
lands, Irelands of the days of the pitch-cap and 
the Penal Laws. It is not a question of re- 
ligion or of race. The Lutheran Danes of Schles- 
wig, the German speaking population of Alsace, 
are as far from being reconciled to their masters 
as the Catholic Slavs of Posen. 

From this Prussian limitation Bismarck him- 
self was far from exempt When he dealt with 
foreign affairs he was dealing with something he 
thoroughly understood. He had a just apprecia- 
tion of the main elements in the European situa- 
tion, the military temper of the French, the ele- 
ments of weakness in the Hapsburg Empire, the 
immense resources of Bussia and her invulnera- 
bility to invasion, the naval strength and colonial 
policy of England. But he had no comprehen- 
sion of the spiritual forces which build up the 
soul of a people, and his attempts to defeat such 
forces by whips, bayonets, espionage and legal 
chicane landed him in a series of blunders which 
have already almost undone his life's work. 

He first blundered into a quarrel with the 



102 The Prus9um Hath Said in His Heart 

Catholic Church, then enjoying one of her peri- 
odical resurrections of vitality. It is curious to 
contrast the skill which Bismarck showed in 
dealing with temporal powers with his utter in- 
ability to understand the nature of the power 
with which he had now to deal. There was in 
him nothing of that wisdom which made Napo- 
leon say : "Treat with the Pope as if he were at 
the head of three hundred thousand soldiers/' 
He utterly misunderstood the whole situation. 
He mistook the mutiny of a few negligible profes- 
sors for a great schism. He thought that the 
"Old Catholic" movement, the utter insignifi- 
cance and early decay of which only emphasised 
the unanimous acclamation with which the whole 
Catholic world greeted the Decree of Infallibility, 
was a thing like the Reformation. He thought 
that the Catholic bishops and priests of South 
Germany, whose loyalty to the See of St Peter 
was traditional, could be manoeuvred into schism 
by a parliamentary intrigue. The follies and 
petty persecutions of the Kulturkampf and the 
Falk Laws nearly split the Empire at its incep- 
tion. Bismarck only saved it by an abject and 
ignominious surrender, by accepting humbly the 
terms dictated by the ecclesiastical authorities. 
The policy which was to have made an end for 



The Nemeris 108 

ever of the clerical power in Germany resulted 
in the eetablishment of clericalism in its least de- 
sirable sense more firmly in the Catholic prov- 
inces of the Empire than in any other part of 
Europe. Never since the days of Gregory VII 
had there been such a Canossa. 

Thus, at the cost of bitter personal humiliation, 
did Bismarck keep Bavaria and the Rhine Prov- 
inces. But in Prussian Poland, where there was 
a national and racial as well as a religious quar- 
rel, the old futile weapons of coercion were re- 
furbished and applied with a new ruthlessness. 
It was resolved to deprive the Poles of their land, 
and a "Colonisation Committee'^ was appointed 
and armed with all sorts of arbitrary and coercive 
powers with the object of substituting Prussians 
for Poles throughout the Polish Provinces. The 
conspiracy was met by a counter conspiracy of 
the type with which Ireland has made us familiar. 
The Poles, in accordance with Pamell's famous 
advice, "kept a firm grip on their farms and home- 
steads" ; and Bismarck's policy utterly failed to 
accomplish its end. The most it did was to scat- 
ter a part of the Polish population over the sur- 
face of the Prussian Empire, where every Polish 
family formed a nucleus of disaffection and a 
source of peril. An attempt to suppress the 



104 The Prussian Hath Said in His Heart 

Polish language, though carried out with infa- 
mous cruelty, failed as completely as the attempt 
to expropriate the Polish peasantry. Prussian 
Poland remained Polish; and Silesia and West 
Prussia became more predominantly Polish every 
year. 

Wihat happened in Poland happened with vari- 
ations in Schleswig, in Alsace and in Lorraine. 
And in all these conquered provinces the Prus- 
sian rule became more abominable and more un- 
successful as the minds of the Prussian ruling 
class became increasingly subject to that disease 
or perversion which it is my aim in this chapter 
to describe. 

Of that disease the first and most obvious 
symptom was that of which I have already spoken. 
It was illusion. We have seen that the Prussians . 
gained much in prestige by their habit of con- 
stant and ritual self-praise, and it is probable 
that in the beginning this habit was deliberately 
encouraged by cynical rulers, who were under no 
illusion themselves. Nay, even down to the out- 
break of the present war, it is probable that the 
rulers of Prussia, who were necessarily better ac- 
quainted with the facts than they allowed their 
subjects to be, were proportionately less under 
the influence of mere swagger than they. The 



The Nemem 105 

idea was that this sort of swagger, if thoroughly 
impressed on the public mind, strengthens a na- 
tion, enabling it at once to speak with greater 
authority and to act with greater confidence and 
unity. Nor can it be denied that to an extent 
these advantages were achieved by the German 
Empire. But they were achieved at the price of 
the nation's sanity and ultimately of the sanity 
of the rulers themselves. As the world and the 
nature of man are built you cannot play with 
truth in that fashion. Self-admiration becomes 
at last a mere disease of the mind ; it takes no ac- 
count even of the evidence of the senses. It 
makes the sufferer altogether incapable of facing 
facts or of dealing with men. The infection 
spreads to the rulers themselves. They are given 
over to strong delusion that they may believe a 
lie. The astounding blunders of this year which 
have hurried Prussia to her final ruin represent 
the vengeance which truth takes upon her ene- 
mies, and the just punishment of the cynicism 
whereby the former generations of Prussian 
statesmen thought to secure themselves by prac- 
tising on the credulity of mankind. 

Another hurt that her delusion did to Prussia 
was to snap utterly that subtle but indispensable 
bond between man and man which we call 



106 The PrusHati Hath Said in His Heart 

^'honour/' I am not thinking only of broken 
pledges and violated engagements. The ruin of 
honour involved in the Prussian conception goes 
much deeper than that. The old European idea 
of honour, like all the good things which Europe 
has produced, rests ultimately upon the recogni- 
tion of the spiritual equalily of men. Men as 
such owe certain things to each other. And the 
obligations in every case, whether of keeping 
promises or of fighting duels, are reciprocal. 
That is honour. And without its strict authority 
it is impossible either to treat with men or to fight 
them. In both connections the Prussian has 
simply forgotten what the thing means. 

Take any of the most dubious and debatable 
institutions with which the idea of honour has 
connected itself. Take the duel. When an Eng- 
lish gentleman of the eighteenth century said, or 
a French gentleman of to-day says, that his 
honour compels him to fight a duel, he means that 
he owes it to his claim to equal humanity to show 
that he is not more afraid than his antagonist of 
being hurt or killed. He does not mean that he 
owes it to his superhumanity to show that he can- 
not be hurt or killed ; for if he really could not be 
hurt or killed the whole business would become 
a disgusting and dastardly murder and would be 



The Nemesu 107 

recognised at once as such by the most dissolute 
bravo that ever provoked quarrels to show ofF his 
courage. 

But when the Prussian officer swaggers along 
Unter den Linden or the Kaiaerstraaae elbowing 
women and civilians off the pavements, he is not 
provoking quarrels to show his courage; he is 
provoking quarrels to show what he would per- 
haps call his supremacy, what I should call his 
immunity, which is much the same thing as say- 
ing his cowardice. Take this historic and well- 
authenticated case. A Prussian officer insults a 
young lady at a ball. Her betrothed very prop- 
erly strikes him. Thereupon he draws his sabre 
and cuts his unarmed assailant down. His con- 
duct is promptly approved by a military tribunal. 
Let it be noted that I am not blaming the man for 
provoking a fight, but for preventing a fight and 
substituting a most unmilitary outrage. 

It is impossible that a state of mind which 
makes such things possible should not have its 
effect on the military spirit of a nation. In all 
healthy European nations the soldier has ever 
been specially reverenced, and very rightly so, for 
he is the sacrificial man, the man set apart to be 
slain if the need of the nation demands his life. 
But the German soldier is reverenced not because 



108 The Prussian Hath Said in His Heart 

he is killed but because he kills^ — Skills any one 
or anything^ unarmed men, wounded men, old 
men, men with their hands tied behind them, 
women, and children. 

A Prussian officer at Saveme in Alsace, hav- 
ing been, as he alleged, laughed at by an unarmed 
civilian who was also a cripple, drew a sabre and 
hacked at him. He also was acquitted by a court- 
martial. Now these facts themselves might point 
to no more than a lamentable loss of self-control 
on the part of an officer and an ever more lament- 
able lack of impartiality on the part of other of- 
ficers. The original outrage might be due only to 
blind, ungovernable fury. The subsequent ac- 
quittal might be due only to blind, professional 
Esprit de corps. But this officer was not merely 
acquitted. He was hailed as a heroic soldier by 
all the militarist papers of the Empire. He was 
specially saluted by the Crown Prince of Prussia, 
What wonder that we find the same royal and im- 
perial personage, when military exigencies com- 
pel him to occupy a French country house, taking 
the opportunity to steal the spoons? The one act 
is about as military as the other. 

It should be observed that here again there is 
nothing specially humanitarian about my criti- 
cism. I do not blame the Prussian officer for 



The Nemesis 109 

fighting and killing. I blame him for killing 
without fighting, for substituting for a fight what 
he would doubtless call a punishment. Even if 
the punishment were just, my attitude towards 
him and still more towards those who specially 
singled him out for admiration and applause, 
would be much the same. He had, at the very 
best, abandoned the most honourable of all pro- 
fessions, that of a soldier, for the basest of all 
trades, that of an executioner ; and his brother of- 
ficers seem to have thought that it did him credit ! 
It is but a short step to considering the soldier^s 
work less glorious than that of the hangman who 
(if that be the test) certainly kills with greater 
certitude and celerity. 

In such a fashion does the Prussian creed, the 
"Master Morality," corrupt the military spirit in 
the higher branches of its service. In the lower 
branches the distinctive "Slave Morality" in- 
tended for, those who are to obey, corrupts it no 
less. It is of the essence of a soldier that he 
should obey, obey unhesitatingly, without ques- 
tioning or after-thought But it is also of his 
essence — ^it is the thing which separates him from 
the slave and makes the necessary loss of natural 
liberty a glorious sacrifice — ^in that he should 
obey from loyalty and not from fear. Now it is 



110 The Prussian Hath Said in His Heart 

the eBsence of the Prussian conception of soldier- 
ing that fear and fear alone should be the weapon 
used. The soldier is to be cowed into an un- 
natural courage, as men very wretched and 
broken spirited will dare even suicide because it 
seems less terrible than any other alternative. 
Up to a point the trick will succeed and has suc- 
ceeded. Your slave-soldiery, lashed in the face if 
they fail to salute with sufl9cient promptitude, 
will be prodigies of discipline. If sufficiently un- 
intelligent they will even, if they can be kept to- 
gether, face losses from which the bravest free 
soldiers would shrink. But even from the purely 
military point of view you will note disadvan- 
tages. Their shooting will not be first rate, for 
though you can frighten a man into firing ofF his 
gun, you cannot frighten him into shooting 
straight. They will dislike and avoid hand to 
hand fighting. It wUl be difficult to get them to 
advance in other than close formation, for when 
the individual soldier ceases to be part of your 
machine his nerve will fail. Personal initiative 
he will necessarily lack, and, man to man, he will 
be no match for his antagonist. And, as a mat- 
ter of fact, all these inferiorities, though partly 
compensated for by a carefully perfected organi- 
sation, may be discovered in the (German forces as 



The Nemesis 111 

compared with their opponents. Of the loss of 
honour and of the dignily of the soul I do not 
speak, for the Prussian does not recognise it as a 
drawback. But it counts for something in the 
long run. 

Finally there is another inevitable consequence 
of the Prussian creed of egotism and the Prussian 
denial of morals. They produce perversion. On 
the most obvious and most unsavoury aspect of 
this, it is fortunately not necessary to dwell. I 
note it as I noted it in the case of Frederick II 
himself. The Eulenberg scandals are not yet for- 
gotten. Doubtless there are such abominations 
to be found among the rich of all great European 
cities, but only in Prussia are they the subject of 
a recognised cultus, supported by a professional 
crusade. It is from Berlin that there proceeds 
that stream of ludicrous and nauseating ^^scien- 
tific" works where unnatural horrors such as are 
buried under the waters of the Dead Sea, are, as 
Mr. Bernard Shaw has admirably expressed it^ 
"grotesquely worshipped as the stigmata of 
genius." If such books occasionally make their 
appearance in England, they appear somewhat 
secretively. Their prominence or wide sale 
would excite universal anger and disgust It 
would probably produce riots. Mr. Edward Car- 



112 The Prussian Hath Said in His Heart 

penter, one of the very few misguided imitators of 
the German professors in this country (his little 
book is full of quotations from Ulrichs, KraflEt- 
Ebing, Moll, Hirschfeld and the rest), remarks on 
the "neglect" of the propaganda here as com- 
pared with its popularity in Germany. In Ger- 
many, or at any rate in Prussia, professors hold- 
ing and continuing to hold high public and aca* 
demic posts, men patronised and honoured by the 
State, vie with each other in eulogising and apolo- 
gising for the infamy. One of these degenerates, 
a certain Dr. Moll, Professor of Psychology at 
Berlin, who, as I gather from Mr. Edward Car- 
penter's book, has received a sort of vote of 
thanks from the perverts of Berlin — that numer- 
ous and presumably influential body — seems to 
have been selected by the Prussian Government 
to report upon "the psychology of the Belgian 
people !" 

Such nastiness may, for the purposes of this 
book, be left out of account. But it is impossible 
to leave out of account the other kind of perver- 
sion — the perversion of cruelly. 

Man is so made that you cannot twist his moral 
instincts without bruising and warping them, 
without producing something in the soul anal- 
ogous to mortification in an injured limb. The 



The Nemesis 118 

Prussian rulers deliberately taught their subjects 
to disregard obligations, the recognition of which 
is natural to man. They did more than this : in 
the case of those of their subjects on whose work 
their State especially reposed — the members of 
their armed forces — they inculcated the disregard 
not only of the normal human conscience, but 
of those feelings which are the particular spur 
and impulse of the profession of arms. They 
taught their officers to disown honour and their 
soldiers to be afraid. You cannot do a thing like 
this without producing a perversion and a dis« 
ease in the soul, and the most characteristic form 
which that perversion or disease is likely to take 
is cruelty. 

Cruelty, when occasion might require it, was in- 
deed a necessary part of the Prussian system, but 
it was the whole mistake of the Prussian theory — 
a part of its fundamental Atheism — ^that it should 
have imagined that the thing could stop there, 
that men could be trained to be cruel when they 
were told and kind when they were told. The ef- 
fect was, of course, that the mere lust of cruelty 
became a primary passion with the Prussians. 
It would not be difficult to find illustrations from 
the conduct of the present war. In the main, 
as I shall have occasion to point out, the atroci- 



114 The Prussian Hath Said in His Heart 

ties committed by the German forces in Belgium 
and France are the result of deliberate policy and 
are ordered by the highest authorities. But there 
have been some abominations which could have 
no relation to any policy military or political. 
They are due simply to the perrersion of cruelty 
which the Prussian Government has deliberately 
engendered. And if such cruelty is often, from 
the purely utilitarian point of view, useless and 
mischievous when you are fighting foreigners, 
much more is it so when you are attempting to 
rule subjects. Yet Posen, Schleswig and Alsace- 
Lorraine afford many examples of this insanity. 

Thus were the vices of Prussia deliberately en- 
couraged by her rulers, weakening her from year 
to year. And that weakening arose ultimately 
from the fact that the creed on which Prussia was 
founded was false. Able as Frederick the Great 
was, he had miscalculated. His system was 
doomed to fall at last, because the world and the 
nature of men are not what he thought them ; be- 
cause the instinct which leads the basest to pre- 
fer good to evil is a vital one which cannot be 
eradicated, and the perversion of which is sui- 
cide ; because, after all, Satan is only Prince not 
King of this World, because there is a Judge that 
judgeth the earth. 



CHAPTER VI 
1914 

Up to the dismissal of Bismarck and for many 
years afterwards there was no sign of a quarrel 
between Prussia and this country. Bismarck's 
ambitions were Continental ; he desired, for the 
State which he served, first a supremacy over all 
German States and then a predominant position 
in Europe. He never attempted to make the Ger- 
man Empire a naval power, and he had no desire 
for colonies. When his power in Europe was at 
its highest he not only refused to use it for the 
purpose of acquiring such colonies, but deliber- 
ately encouraged France to found a colonial em- 
pire which he hoped might both weaken her and 
distract her attention from the lost provinces. 
On our side, during the last quarter of the nine- 
teenth century the foreign policy of Great Britain 
was mainly directed by the late Lord Salisbury, a 
man very able and experienced, very patriotic, 
whose chief conviction seems to have been that 
England, situated as she was, ought to avoid war 

116 



116 The Prussian Hath Said in His Heart 

at almost any cost. To do so and yet to preseire 
national interests intact, he conceived that the 
wisest policy was to connect England as closely as 
possible with an Empire which appeared to be the 
strongest military power in Europe, and which at 
that time was not a naval or colonial power. 
This policy, which, among other things, was re- 
sponsible for the ultimately disastrous cession of 
Heligoland, might still have appeared wise and 
prudent if that power had not shortly aifterwards 
begun to develop colonial ambitions of the most 
arrogant type, and to entertain the definite de- 
sign of challenging British naval supremacy. 

In the main this development must be attrib- 
uted to the megalomania which we have noted in 
Prussia as the chief result of deliberately encour- 
aged illusion. We in this country feel a natural 
enthusiasm for our colonies, an enthusiasm which 
dei)ends less upon the idea that they increase the 
military strength of England than on the very 
just feeling that they increase the pride and glory 
of England. Wanderings in wild places and the 
establishment of settlements in uncivilised lands 
are things for which our people have a special 
aptitude, and we have a right to be proud of the 
new countries which bear witness to that apti- 
tude, as the Italians have a right to be proud of 



19U 117 

their painting and the Germans of their music. 
Also it fitted in well with our historic pride in 
our naval strength, our conception of ourselves as 
an island people sweeping the seas and finding 
strange lands. To Prussia no such considera- 
tions applied. Her glory, such as it was, was es- 
sentially military and not in any way naval. She 
was not an island ; she was an inland — ^almost a 
land-locked — state. Her children had no natural 
genius for colonisation, and certainly they had no 
natural taste for adventure. They have never 
dreamed of going to any colony that was not al- 
ready thoroughly established and settled by some- 
body else. Nevertheless, a fundamentally stupid 
desire to prove that there was nothing in which 
any other people could be superior to Prussians, 
induced the successors of Bismarck to abandon 
his policy and to substitute a policy of colonial 
expansion and naval challenge. 

Bismarck was sane. If he had come to the con- 
clusion that a war with this country was desir- 
able, he would doubtless have engineered it with 
his customary skill. The course was not very dif- 
ficult The old understanding with Russia 
would have been strengthened in every possible 
way. Russia would have been promised a free 
hand in those quarters where her interests did not 



118 The Prussian Hath Said in His Heart 

conflict with those of the German Empire. Op- 
portunity would have been taken to increase and 
emphasise every possible cause of quarrel — ^and at 
the time there were many — ^between Russia and 
Great Britain. When the benevolent neutrality 
of Russia had thus been secured, Bismarck would 
have bent his mind to the task of making an ally 
of France. With France also we had our dif- 
ficulties in those days, and some of them 
might easily have been so manipulated as to lead 
to an open breach. Two things only stood in the 
way of a Franco-German Alliance, — the memory 
of 1870 and the lost provinces which were its 1^- 
acy. But by the time that British and German 
interests b^an to conflict the memory of 1870 
was already dim ; a generation had grown up that 
had no personal memory of the violation of the 
national territory. As to the lost provinces, 
which, as Bismarck had foreseen, had brought 
no profit to Germany, they might actually have 
been used as an asset. Bismarck had been 
against taking Metz in the first instance ; had he 
been in power when an attack on England began 
to be regarded as the true end of German policy, 
he might have given it back, perhaps in nominal 
return for some trifling colonial concession. 
That would have gone far to placate the French, 



19U 119 

— say^ at the time of the Fashoda incident. With 
a little management the whole (Continent might 
haye been ranged against Great Britain^ and, 
when the time for action came, Bismarck might 
eyen haye contriyed so to stage-manage the busi- 
ness that we should appear to be the aggressors. 
He had done the thing before. 

Fortunately for this country those who in- 
herited Bismarck's power and his lack of con- 
science inherited none of his other qualities. He 
might ignore morals, but he did not ignore facts. 
But they were bitten with the new Superman 
idea, and were conscious of no facts saye their 
own eyident superiority to the rest of mankind. 
They had no idea of a policy saye to "hack their 
way through," to destroy nation after nation un- 
til Prussia alone was left erect. 

It should be obseryed that about ten years be- 
fore the present war broke out two eyents oc- 
curred which rather tended to confirm the Prus- 
sians in their delusion. First, in 1904 Russia, a 
power which Bismarck had always sought to 
conciliate and of which eyen his successors had 
always stood in some awe, was decisiyely de- 
feated by Japan. This disaster, which among 
other things brought into prominence the defects 
of the Russian military system, was followed by 



120 The Prussian Hath Said in His Heart 

an insurrectionary moyement in Russia itself. 
The HohenzollemSy in accordance with their tra- 
ditional policy, lent their support to the Tsar's 
Government in resisting that movement which, 
after a fierce struggle, collapsed, mainly, per- 
haps, owing to its gradual divorce from the na- 
tional and especially from the religious instincts 
of the populace. But the Japanese war and the 
abortive Revolution tended to make the Prussian 
rulers believe that the effective power of Russia 
had been overrated ; that she need not be feared. 

The next year, 1905, a deliberate and provoca- 
tive challenge offered by Gtermany to France 
found the latter unprepared; the resignation of 
M. Delcass^ followed, and Prussian diplomacy 
scored a decided success, small, perhaps, in its 
practical value, but calculated to impress the 
public mind of Europe and especially the public 
mind of Prussia itself. 

This diplomatic check to France was followed 
by an even more decided check to Russia. This 
arose out of the affair of the "Young Turk" Revo- 
lution, when a small group of intriguers organ- 
ised in Masonic Lodges and financed by the 
wealthy Jews of Salonika, suborned the Turkish 
Army and pulled down the Sultan, Abdul Hamid 
II, an able sovereign, who had ruled, indeed, as 



19U 121 

a Turk always rules, but who had preserved the 
independence and prestige of the Ottoman Em- 
pire through a very difficult time with great skill 
and foresight His successors showed no such 
competence and their triumph dealt a death-blow 
to the Ottoman power; for that power rested 
on a great religion, and of all religions the 
'TToung Turks" were utterly contemptuous. Aus- 
tria seized the opportunity to annex formally 
two provinces of the Turkish Empire, Bosnia and 
Herzegovina, which they had been occupying un- 
der a nominal Turkish suzerainty since 1878. 
Serbia, whose people had a racial, and to a great 
extent, religious affinity to the population of 
these provinces, vehemently protested: and her 
protest was backed by Russia. But the rulers of 
Germany not only let it be known that they 
would support Austria to the point of war, but 
rapidly massed troops on the Russian frontier. 
Russia had not yet recovered from the effects of 
the Japanese war and the convulsions which fol- 
lowed it. Her mobilisation was, in any case, 
slow. France showed a marked indisposition to 
be drawn into the quarrel, and without France 
England was not likely to mova Russia gave 
way, and compelled Serbia to do the same. 
Meanwhile the naval strength of Germany was 



122 The Prussian Hath Scdd in His Heart 

being continually augmented^ not^ as Bismarck 
would have augmented it, steadily and quietly, 
but to the accompaniment of a continual flourish 
of trumpets and of loud (if unofficial) threats 
against this country. Thus was Great Britain 
forced to change her traditional policy and throw 
in her lot with France and Russia. No one who 
has comprehended the real character and aims of 
Prussia, and who values either the national self- 
respect of England or the rights aud liberties of 
Europe, will be anything but thankful for the 
change, but it is doubtful if anything but the 
insolence of Prussia's threats and the menace of 
her provocatively paraded preparations would 
have induced our rulers to make it. 

Two other events must be mentioned if we are 
to understand rightly the motives which induced 
the rulers of Germany to provoke the present 
war. 

One was the episode of Agadir. At a time 
when France was successfully pushing forward 
an expedition against Fez, the capital of Mo- 
rocco, the German Government sent a war-ship 
to the harbour of Agadir on the Atlantic coast. 
The whole character of this move has been much 
misunderstood. Without putting too blind a re- 
liance on the confessions of the ex-spy "Arm- 



19U 128 

gaard Karl Grayes/' one may find this part of 
Ms narrative fairly credible^ the more so as it 
confirms what those best informed realised at the 
time. The sending of the Panther to Agadir 
was not a challenge to Franca The spot chosen 
was far away from the part of North Africa 
which the French desired to penetrate. It was 
much more of a challenge to England^ for, as a 
glance at the map will show^ the new harbour 
which it was proposed to create there was ideally 
suited for striking at all our principal trade 
routes. We have had a good reason during the 
present war to be thankful that it was not avail- 
able as a naval base. The main object, however, 
was undoubtedly to see how fast the Franco- 
British alliance held. Its effect was to show 
that such an attempt would be resisted by the 
combined forces of both countries. Then the 
Panther left Agadir, the German Government 
not being prepared for immediate war. To the 
Prussian people, deliberately kept in the dark in 
r^ard to all such matters, the evacuation 
seemed a mere surrender, and it became the more 
Important to wipe it out as soon as circum- 
stances more favourable to Germany arose. 

The second event was the outbreak and suc- 
cessful prosecution of the Balkan Wars. Here a 



124 The Prussian Hath Said in His Heart 

policy hostile to that pursued by Prussia, a policy 
which had for its aim the destructLon of Turk- 
ish rule in the European provinces of the Otto- 
man Empire, appealed to arms and won. The 
Germanic Powers could not prevent it winning, 
though Austria precipitated the second Balkan 
War by stopping Serbians outlet to the sea and 
insisting (with Italy) on the creation of the 
neutral State of Albania, whose territory was 
artificially extended so as to include the all-im- 
portant strat^c position of Valona, Never- 
theless, — ^and it is very important to remember 
this — the Balkan Wars represented in the eyes 
of the world, as a whole, a defeat for the Ger- 
manic Powers, whose ally and dependant Turkey 
had been. It was also a special blow to Prussian 
military prestige: for the training of the Turk- 
ish army was Prussian. 

I mention these four incidents in order because 
they help us to understand the state of mind of 
the Prussian rulers, and the understanding of 
that state of mind is the key to the whole mys- 
tery of the present war and its origin. 

Let us suppose a man whose main ambition is 
to establish his superiority in wealth over an- 
other man. Let us imagine him caught by acci- 
dent without his cheque-book and compelled to 



19U 125 

borrow a sovereign in the presence of Ms rival. 
What will he do? If he is a man with anything 
of the Prossian in him he will seize the first op* 
portunity of displaying his wealth in the most 
ostentatious fashion, or he will make on the other 
man some sudden claim which will demonstrate 
his comparative poverty. 

Such was the situation of the Imperial Gov- 
emmenty and just so did it act 

It was the whole aim of Prussian policy to 
make the world believe that the Gterman Empire 
was stronger than its rivals. Probably the Prus- 
sian rulers, certainly the Prussian people, be- 
lieved it themselves. Moreover two of the inci- 
dents referred to, the dismissal of M. Delcass6 
and the abandonment of Bosnia, had seemed to 
justify the belief. But then it was overclouded. 
Germany had the appearance of having retreated 
from Agadir under Franco-British pressure, and 
of having been compelled to permit a rearrange- 
ment of the Balkan States unfavourable both to 
her interests and her prestige. 

There was only two courses that could restore 
what had been lost The Triple Entente must 
either be crushed by arms or it must be dissolved, 
and each of its separate members forced to 
choose between a public humiliation and a war 



126 The Prussian Hath Said in His Heart 

without allies. The second alternative was de- 
sired by Prussia : for the firsts she was, if neces- 
sary, prepared. 

I emphasise this point, because those who are 
disposed to disbelieve, in spite of the unanswer- 
able evidence of public documents, in the full re- 
sponsibility of Prussia for this war, have just 
one argument which may seem plausible. How, 
they ask, is it possible to believe that Germany 
deliberately provoked a war in which she had so 
little chance of ultimate success? The answer is 
that she did not, in the first instance, intend 
war; she hoped for a surrender, which would 
shatter the Triple Entente and leave her hands 
free for the crushing or humiliation of France, 
and finally for a successful attack on this coun- 
try. 

The incident which gave her, as she thought, 
the desired opening was the assassination of the 
Archduke Francis Ferdinand of Austria. 

This remarkable man was the last of that 
breed of skilful and original statesmen who have 
held together the curious composite Empire of 
the Hapsburgs. It is a mistake to speak of Aus- 
tria as if she were a nation. Austria is simply 
the Hapsburgs and the Hapsburgs are simply a 
dynasty. The various dominions which acknowl- 



19U 127 

edge the sovereignty of that dynasty are united 
by no common tie of national sentiment. They 
do not think of themselves as "Austrians," but as 
Germans, Czechs, Poles, Magyars, Slovaks or 
what not. On the other hand the Austrian Em- 
pire does not, like the Prussian, rest on mere 
military domination. No European power has 
been more constantly beaten in war with less 
visible result The Hapsburgs have ruled by 
diplomacy and statecraft, on the playing off of 
one people against another, and on the mainte- 
nance of a careful balance among rival powers. 
From the time of Kaunitz onwards they never 
lacked men capable of such management. 

The policy of the Archduke Ferdinand was as 
far-sighted as it was daring. He aimed at a real 
union of all the races which made up the Aus- 
trian Empire on the basis of the one thing com- 
mon to almost all of them, — ^the Catholic religion. 
On this ground northern and southern Slavs (his 
wife, who was murdered with him, was a Pole) 
could rally to the House of Hapsburg. Austria- 
Hungary could assume that valuable office which 
Masonic sectarianism had lost to France, that 
of protector of Catholic interests in the Near 
East, and would thus become a formidable 
counterpoise to Russia, the traditional protector 



128 The Prussian Hath Said in His Heart 

of the Orthodox Church. But in order that this 
policy might succeed the Catholic Slays must be 
made to feel that they enjoyed full freedom and 
equality under the Hapsburg crown. The chief 
obstacle to this lay in the irritating privileges 
and exclusive spirit of the two oligarchies — Ger- 
man and Magyar — which practically ruled the 
Dual Empire. These privil^es Francis Ferdi- 
nand set himself to curtail^ and of that spirit he 
was the known and avowed enemy. 

On June 28th, 1914, he was assassinated in the 
streets of Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia. The 
murderers were apparently Bosnians of Slavonic 
race. What ramifications there may have been 
in connection with the conspiracy we do not yet 
know, and, perhaps, shall never know. The Aus- 
trian Government professes to have proofs that 
it was hatched in Belgrade, and that Serbian of- 
ficers were accessories to it ; but these proofs have 
not yet been produced. It is clear that the aims 
of the Archduke were likely to be very distaste- 
ful to the Orthodox Slavs of Serbia and to their 
brothers within the Austrian Empire as well as 
to the Orthodox Government of Russia. On the 
other hand it is certain that they were at least 
equally offensive to German and Magyar official- 
dom at Vienna and Buda-Pesth, — nay, to the old 



19U 129 

Emperor himself, and still more to his ally at 
Berlin. There are some queer features about 
the story that suggest some sort of double 
treason : for instance the extraordinary failure of 
the authorities to protect this Archduke^s life 
even after one attempt on it had been made. 
Finally, there is the startling declaration of the 
Serbian Government, that that Government had 
had suspicions of one of the assassins (an Aus- 
trian subject), but on making enquiries of the 
Austrian Government had been assured that the 
man was "harmless and under its protection^ 
All this looks rather as if, though the actual 
criminals may have been Pan-Serbian fanatics, 
the agent provocateur was not absent from their 
deliberations. But I need not go into these dark 
matters further. In order to be as fair as pos- 
sible to the enemy, let us assume that the Aus- 
trian Government did hold in its hand proof of 
Serbian complicity in the plot 

If it were possible to conceive the paradox of 
the Archduke Francis Ferdinand having to deal 
with the situation created by his own murder, 
or, if he had been able to bequeath to a successor 
his abilities and his policy, it is not difficult to 
guess how the problem would have been handled. 
He would certainly have used the opportunity 



180 The Prussian Hath Said in His Heart 

to reassert the Hapsburg power in the Balkans 
and to humble and discredit Serbia. If he had 
proof of Serbian guilt he would either have pub- 
lished it, or, perhaps more probably, he would 
have communicated it privately to the Serbian 
Government with a threat that it would be pub- 
lished if certain concessions were not made. 
How hard and humiliating and even unjust he 
might have made the terms of Serbia's submis- 
sion without provoking war may be seen by the 
extent to which Serbia was forced by Bussia to 
accept the Austrian demands, monstrous as they 
were. Francis Ferdinand would have counted 
on this, and probably scored a great increase of 
prestige for Austria at the expense of both Ser- 
bia and Russia. But war he would at all costs 
have avoided, for from that the Hapsburgs had 
nothing to gain and everything to lose. The 
Austrian Empire does not show at its best in war. 
Even a war with Serbia single-handed would cost 
a great eflfort, for Serbia had already displayed 
in two brilliant campaigns the splendid mili- 
tary prowess of her arms. Moreover a war with 
Serbia was almost bound to mean a war with 
Bussia, and Bussia could indubitably crush Aus- 
tria viith one hand. If Austria were saved from 
such a fate, it could only be by the intervention 



19U 181 

of Prussia, and if such interval were successful, 
Berlin and not Vienna must be the gainer. Nay, 
Berlin would inevitably gain at the expense of 
Vienna : the Hapsburgs would be more than ever 
mere dependants of the HohenzoUems, who 
would become the real masters of the Empire as 
well as the reversionaries of its German prov- 
inces. 

When all this is kept in view, it is impossible 
to imagine that any one who had the interests of 
the Hapsburg dynasty at heart could have ad- 
vised Francis Joseph to throw away every diplo- 
matic advantage in order to make peace impos- 
sible and war an immediate certainty. Yet that 
is what he unquestionably did. The whole in- 
terest of the negotiations in their first phase 
centres round the question of why he did it. 

But first let us follow the course of events. 
The Archduke was, as I say, murdered on June 
28th. For nearly a month Austria did nothing. 
She said nothing to her antagonist Serbia, noth- 
ing to her own ally Italy. Neither the Russian 
nor the British Government could obtain any in- 
formation as to her intentions. All that was 
known during that month of silence was that 
Austria was replenishing her stocks of ammuni- 
tion. We shall see, however, that the German 



182 The Prussian Hath Said in His Heart 

Goyemment was throughout this time in close 
and confidential communication with its ally. 

On July 22nd the Serbian Gtovemment received 
its first communication from Vienna. It took 
the form of an ultimatum. A categorically sat- 
isfactory answer was to reach the Austrian Gov- 
ernment within forty-eight hours. A refusal or 
evasion^ or even a remonstrance on any single 
pointy would mean instant war. 

Now any one who fairly examines this amaz- 
ing document will at once perceive that, with 
whatever intention it was sent, it was certainly 
not intended to be accepted. Nay, those who 
framed it were clearly afraid above all things of 
its acceptance, and were always on the guard 
against this dangerous possibility. Whatever a 
demand might conceivably, though not without 
cruel mortification, be complied with, something 
is added calculated to make compliance out of the 
question. Thus the Serbian Government is not 
only asked to publish an official condemnation of 
all anti-Austrian propaganda, but virtually to 
plead guilty ( not a tittle of evidence of its guilt 
being produced) to having in violation of solemn 
pledges encouraged such propaganda in the past 
The Serbian Government is further asked to do 
things which (as must have been perfectly well- 



19U 188 

known both in Vienna and in Berlin ) it was not 
constitutionally competent to do, — as, for in- 
stance, to suppress and confiscate newspapers. 
It was asked to do things which no Goyemment 
is physically capable of doing, — to control the 
secret proceedings of unnamed persons. Finally, 
three demands were made which I set out ver- 
batim. They are plainly inconsistent with any 
sort of national independence; indeed I cannot 
see how the most triumphant military conquest 
could have annexed Serbia more completely to 
the Hapsburg Empire than would their accept- 
ance: — 

To remove from the military service, and from the 
administration in general, all ofScers and function- 
aries guilty of propaganda against the Austro-Hun- 
garian Monarchy whose names and deeds the Ausiro- 
Hungarian Oovernment reserve to themselves the right 
of communicating to the Royal Oovernment. 

To accept the collaboration in Serbia of representa- 
tives of the AustrO'Hungarian Oovernment for the 
suppression of the subversive movement directed 
against the territorial integrity of the Monarchy. 

To take judicial proceedings against accessories to 
the plot of June 28th who are on Serbian territory. 
Delegates of the Austro-Hungarian Oovernment will 
take part in the investigation thereto. 

It is clear that the Emperor of Austria was 
playing not for a diplomatic victory but for a 



184 The Prussian Hath Said in His Heart 

rupture. I think I have made it equally clear 
that the Hapsburg dynasty had everything to 
hope from such a diplomatic victory and every- 
thing to fear from such a rupture. It may be 
suggested that the Emperor Francis Joseph was 
an old man^ already cruelly wounded more than 
once in his family lif e, and that the tragic death 
of his heir drove him beyond the limits of reason ; 
but, laying aside the notorious fact that he hated 
that heir, the month's delay precludes the idea of 
a mere outburst of passion. 

No, the plain conclusion — and, as we shall 
see, it is borne out by the whole course of subse- 
quent negotiations — ^is that some other person or 
Power, whose interests might be promoted by a 
rupture was using Francis Joseph as a cat's paw. 

That Power, of course, could only be Prussia. 
Let us see how the situation affected the aims of 
Prussia, and how the Kaiser and his Ministers 
might conceive it to be to their interest to act. 

Prussia had little interest in the Balkan 
troubles, except in so far as she had appeared as 
the unsuccessful protector of the Turk. Her 
Government, theoretically Protestant, practically 
Atheist, had no possible concern with the re- 
ligious quarrels of Greek and Latin. She had 
only a secondary interest in the maintenance of 



19U 185 

the Austrian Empire ; indeed she probably hoped 
ultimately to acquire a large accession of terri- 
tory on the dissolution of that Empire. But she 
had a very direct interest in re-establishing that 
prestige which the retreat from Agadir and the 
overthrow of Turkey had somewhat damaged. 
She hady above all, a very pressing interest in the 
break-up of the Triple Entente and the isolation 
of her three potential enemies. Let us see why 
she may have thought the occasion promising for 
such a project. 

Russia was exceedingly anxious to avoid war. 
She had good reason to be so^ for her internal 
situation seemed not a little dangerous. There 
were symptoms of a revival of the revolutionary 
activities of 1905: a great strike had been de- 
clared among the artizans of her principal towns, 
and a friend of mine saw the barricades being 
thrown up in what was then still St. Petersburg 
a week before war broke out How strongly the 
Tsar's Government felt the dangers of an inter- 
national crisis is shown by the pressure it put on 
Serbia to meet every demand of Austria's that 
could thinkably be met. Still, if Serbia were at- 
tacked, Russia would have to fight or lose her 
whole influence in the Balkans and confess her- 
self a defeated and humbled power. 



186 The Prussian Hath Said in His Heart 

I have said that the Prussians, with the Basso- 
Japanese War in their minds, almost certainly 
underrated the military effectiveness of Russia. 
At any rate, they felt confident that they and 
their Austrian allies could easily beat Russia if 
Russia was fighting single-handed. But would 
Russia be single-handed? It is at this point that 
I fancy the principal Prussian miscalculations 
began. 

That Parliamentary system, which so con- 
stantly misrepresents the French nation, had in 
the earlier months of 1914 evolved a Chamber of 
which, though the capital, which always leads 
France, had shown a vigorous national spirit, 
the general complexion was what is called in 
France Blocard, — ^that is to say Masonic and 
more or less Pacifist. The Socialists, opposed by 
tradition both to war and to the Bussian alli- 
ance, had received a great accession of strength. 
An attempt to form a Coalition Government 
leaning partly on the Bight had failed, and the 
Premiership had been entrusted to M. Viviani, an 
ex-Socialist and a sometime opponent of these 
military measures, notably the Three Years^ Serv- 
ice Law by which France sought to secure her- 
self from Prussian aggression. From the new 
Government not only the Conservatives but those 



19U 187 

Radicals who, like M. Briand and M. Millerand, 
had taken up a strong national attitude, were ex- 
cluded. M. Jaur^s, the Socialist leader, though 
not a member of it^ was believed to be its master. 

These things, we know, were carefully noted in 
Berlin. The Prussians had always reckoned on 
the Anti-Militarist agitation conducted by M. 
Gustav Herv6 as an ally: it is said that they 
counted on a rising in half a dozen French in- 
dustrial towns at the instant of mobilisation. 
They probably now felt that they could reckon 
also on a Pacifist element in the Ministry and in 
the Chambers. 

It is probable that in the earlier stages, at 
least, of the negotiations, Prussia hoped for the 
neutrality of France. She certainly expected the 
neutrality of England, and that up to the last 
moment. England had been involved by the pro- 
fessional sham fighting of her politicians in a 
trouble which at the moment looked serious. 
The agreement between the Front Benches that 
Home Rule must be granted to Ireland had not 
been accompanied by any satisfactory settlement 
of the small but very real problem of the popula- 
tion of the northeast comer of that island whose 
national and still more whose religious sentiments 
were hostile to government from Dublin. Bound 



188 The Prussian Hath Said in His Heart 

this detail^ which ought to have been arranged 
at once by the simple device of the local plebiscite, 
the play-acting began once more, and it did not 
end until a theatrical pretence of coercion had 
stimulated both Nationalists and Orangemen to 
arms, and dragged the armed forces of the Crown 
into a mischievous association with political 
parties. The Prussians, served all' too well by 
their spies, whom by their traditional system of 
promiscuous payment for any information re- 
ceived, they had stimulated to send in any reports 
that might be floating about, seem to have believed 
sincerely that we were on the verge of civil war, 
and that our army had failed us. It is also more 
than probable that some of the many wealthy 
men (such as in peaceful times mainly control 
English politics) who were of German birth or 
connections, felt able to assure their compatriots 
that it was in their power to prevent this country 
engaging in a war. Anyhow, the Prussian au- 
thorities clearly believed that we were certain to 
remain neutral, and one may surmise that they 
hoped that our refusal might influence the con- 
duct of France. 

To return to the Prussian plan. Russia, if de- 
serted by her allies, must either flght single- 
handed or surrender. Whichever she did, the 



19U 189 

Triple Entente would be destroyed. Russia 
could not be expected to come to the assistance of 
those who in her hour of need had failed her. 
It would then be possible to play the same game 
with France without danger of Bussian interven- 
tion. The Franco-British combination would 
again be "tested," — it was hoped with more satis- 
factory results. France in her turn would be 
either beaten or humiliated, Belgium and perhaps 
Holland annexed, and then the way would be 
clear for the last war which would secure Prussia 
on the seas and over the seas the supremacy which 
she had already achieved on the Continent. 

I do not say that this was a wise plan. It was 
not such a plan as Bismarck would have devised ; 
and the event has proved that it was based on a 
whole series of miscalculations. But I do say 
that it is an intelligible plan, and that it is 
consonant with the psychology of Prussia, of 
post-Bismarckian Prussia, the Prussia of bom- 
bast and self-delusion, the Prussia of the de- 
cadence. And I say that its adoption by the 
rulers of the German Empire is the one hypothe- 
sis which fully explains the whole story of the 
negotiations. 

That story being armed with its key, we may 
now resume. And it will be well to follow it 



140 The Prussian Hath Said in His Heart 

not only in the British official account, but in the 
German Government's own white paper which, 
along with much special pleading, contains some 
very interesting information which was neces- 
sarily unknown to our Foreign Office. I take 
my quotations from the translation given in a 
supplement of the New York Times dated August 
24th. The paper itself bears the date of Au- 
gust 3rd. 

First of all we have the full admission that 
the German Government was privy to the attack 
on Serbia during the whole month of its secret 
preparation. Here is the quotation : — 

In view of these circumstances Austria had to admit 
that it would not be consistent either with the dignity 
or self-preservation of the monarchy to look on any 
longer at the operations on the other side of the border 
without taking action. The Austro-Hungarian Gov- 
ernment advised us of this view of the situation and 
asked our opinion on the matter. We were able to 
assure our ally most heartily of our agreement with 
her view of the situation, and to assure her that any 
action that she might consider it necessary to take in 
order to put an end to the movement in Serbia directed 
against the existence of the Austro-Hungarian mon- 
archy would receive our approval. We were fully 
aware in this connection that warlike moves on the 
part of Austria-Hungary against Serbia would bring 
Russia into the question and might draw us into a war 
in accordance with our duties of an ally. However, 



19U 141 

recognising the vital interest of Austria-Hungary 
which were at stake, we could neither advise our ally 
to a compliance that would have been consistent with 
her dignity, nor could we deny her our support in 
this great hour of need. 

We have it then acknowledged that Berlin was 
a party to the original outrage. That she cer- 
tainly inspired that outrage I shall endeavour 
to show presently. 

But at least the pretence that Berlin en- 
deavoured to influence Vienna in a pacific direc- 
tion which did much duty in the days immedi- 
ately preceding the war, especially while the 
neutrality of England was still hoped for^ is 
thrown overboard. The German Government 
consented to '^transmit suggestions of various 
kinds for the maintenance of peace^^ from Sir Ed- 
ward Grey to Vienna, but she does not now pre- 
tend that she advised the acceptance of any of 
them ; and in view of what happened later it is 
pretty safe to assume that they were transmitted 
with a broad hint that they should be refused. 
The language of the German White Paper on this 
subject is so exquisitely Prussian that I must 
really transcribe it : — 

From the very beginning of the conflict we took the 
stand that this was an affair of Austria which she 
alone would have to bring to a decision with Serbia. 



142 The Prtbssian Hath Said in His Heart 

We have therefore devoted our entire efforts to local- 
idng the war and to convincing the other powers that 
Austria-Hungary was compelled to take justified de- 
fensive methods and appeal to arms. We took the 
stand emphatically that no civilised nation had the 
right in this struggle against lack of culture (Un- 
kultur) and criminal political morality to prevent 
Austria from acting and to take away the just punish- 
ment from Serbia. We instructed our representatives 
abroad in that sense. 

So far so good. We knew all about Prussian 
"culture" — ^and Prussian "political morality" al- 
ready. But now we come to a new development 
which throws a flood of light upon all that had 
happened before. 

Austria had declared war on Serbia on July 
28th. But in the last three days of the month 
she suddenly began to show herself much more 
reasonable. She consented to a proposal for di- 
i*ect negotiations with Russia, and these negotia- 
tions were proceeding so satisfactorily that peace 
seemed almost assured. Says Sir Maurice de 
Bunsen in his last despatch from Vienna : "M. 
Schebeko (the Russian Ambassador) to the end 
was working hard for peace. He was holding the 
most conciliatory language to Count Berchtold 
(the Austrian Foreign Minister) and he informed 
me that the latter, as well as Count Forgach (his 
Under-Secretai7 ) had responded in the same 



19U 148 

spirit." Then suddenly when peace was already 
in full sights came war. I again quote Sir Mau- 
rice de Bunsen:— 

Unfortunately these conversations at St. Peters- 
burg and Vienna were cut short by the transfer of 
the dispute to the more dangerous ground of a direct 
conflict between Germany and Russia. Germany in- 
tervened on the 31st of July by means of her double 
ultimatums to St. Petersburg and Paris. The ulti- 
matums were of a kind to which only one answer is 
possible, and Germany declared war on Russia on the 
1st of August, and on France on the 3rd of August. 
A few days' delay might in all probability have saved 
Europe from one of the greatest calamities in history. 

It is clear that in the end the Prussian Govern- 
ment forced war not only on her enemies but on 
her unfortunate ally. The pretence that the al- 
leged Russian and French mobilisation forced 
her hand is nonsense. The anxiety of France to 
avoid anything that could ever be construed into 
hostile action placed her at a grave disadvantage 
when war came^ and^ if Russia partially mobil- 
ised she only acted with common prudence. Her 
mobilisation was notoriously a slower business 
than that of her enemies, one of whom was al- 
ready fully mobilised. She could hardly be ex- 
pected to forget how Prussia, by massing troops 
on her undefended frontiers, had compelled her to 



144 The Prusdan Hath Said in His Heart 

a humiliating surrender over Bosnia : she was not 
likely to be caught napping a second time. 

The real meaning of the whole story is made 
clear by the sudden hesitation of Vienna to pro- 
ceed to extremities (Austria did not, in fact, de- 
clare war against Russia till a week later than 
Germany) and the equally sudden decision of 
Berlin for instant war. 

I take the explanation to be this : Austria had 
adopted her outrageous provocation policy in the 
matter of Serbia at the direct instigation of Ber- 
lin, and that she had done so on definite assurance 
that she would have no one but Serbia to fight, 
and that her ally would see that Russia did not 
move. When it became obvious that the Prussian 
assurances were unfounded, that Russia meant to 
fight, and that all Europe would be involved in 
the war, Austria, whose rulers would be risking 
everything in such a war and could get nothing 
out of it, wished to withdraw and insisted on 
opening communications with Russia* What ex- 
actly passed between the allies we cannot tell ; it 
is significant that none of their communications 
appear in the German White Paper. But it is 
evident that the Prussian Government feared a 
peaceful solution which would look like another 
diplomatic success for the Triple Entente. 



19U 145 

Bather than face such a possibility she would her- 
self precipitate war and drag her helpless ally 
along with her. If the reader will turn back 
to the account I have given of the Ems affairs and 
of how Bismarck made war inevitable in 1870 
(or, better still, read Bismarck's own account of 
these transactions) he will see how little the po- 
litical morality of Prussian statesmen has 
changed in the interval, however much their in- 
telligence may have deteriorated. 

By the time the Prussians determined on war 
with Bussia they knew, whatever may have been 
their previous illusions, that they would have to 
fight Prance as well. What they were perhaps 
less prepared for was the absolute unanimity of 
Prance in the face of their aggression. Before 
war was declared, Jean Jaur6s, on whom they 
had counted to oppose Prench intervention, made 
a speech to an international gathering of Social- 
ists at Brussels in which he denounced in unmeas- 
ured terms the manner in which Serbia had been 
treated. "We are for the weak against the 
strong," he said. A few days afterwards he was 
assassinated, whether by a fanatical madman or 
by a secret emissary of Germany cannot yet be 
said with any confidence. But more startling 
phenomena were to follow the actual outbreak 



146 The Prussian Hath Said in His Heart 

of war. The Confederation Genirale de Tro/vaU, 
which had been expected to oblige Berlin by start- 
ing a revolution in the Kaiser's interest, issued 
instead a manifesto appealing to all its members 
to rally to the national defence; and Oustay 
Herv6, the apostle of Anti-Militarism, went 
straight to the War Office and begged to be sent 
into the firing line. 

There was still one unknown quantity in the 
European situation — the attitude of England. 
It is evident from the dramatic account we have 
of our ambassador's last interview with the Ger- 
man Chancellor, that Prussia counted absolutely 
on the neutrality of this country. That she 
should have so counted, seeing that the reduction 
of this country to vassalage was the real ob- 
jective of her complex i)olicy, seems extraordi- 
nary. But, apart from the exaggerated im- 
portance which their spies had led them to 
attach to the Irish trouble there was much to 
encourage their delusion. 

It may be well to say quite frankly that in 
niy judgment there was a course which Sir Ed- 
ward Grey could have taken which might possibly 
— though not certainly — ^have averted this war. 
That course was the one persistently pressed on 
us by M. Sazonof , the Russian Minister for For- 



19U 147 

eign Affairs. If at the very beginning of the 
trouble^ we had declared that, in the event of war 
breaking out, we should join France and Russia, 
it is not altogether unlikely that BerUn might 
have paused and allowed Austria to extricate her- 
self, as she was anxious to do, from an untenable 
position. But Sir Edward Grey persistently re- 
fused to make such a declaration, and Berlin 
drew the natural inference. 

Nor was it in Berlin only that that inference 
was drawn. Many Englishmen shared the im- 
pression. Many of us will not easily forget the 
black week which preceded the actual declara- 
tion of war, when we half feared that we were 
going to see England lose her honour and won- 
dered vaguely whether the Englishman could ever 
go abroad again without feeling the contempt of 
mankind striking him in the face like a blow. 

Fear was the heavier upon those who knew 
best how powerful were the forces arranged on 
the side of a shameful inaction. There were 
among the wealthy men who finance our politi- 
cians some who had fancy religions, hostile to 
arms, while others had a more human and intelli- 
gible objection to paying taxes. Worse, there 
were Germans and Gterman Jews among them, 
men powerful in the City and all-powerful at 



148 The Prussian Hath Said in His Heart 

Westminster. Their influence was soon felt 
Everywhere one could almost physically feel the 
pressure of cosmopolitan flnance seeking to swing 
English policy clear of intervention. 

Fortunately the Prussians saved us from the 
intrigues of their allies by a last brutal and 
cynical violation of international honour, which 
was also a direct challenge to our own. It has 
been said by some that the defence of Belgian 
neutrality was only a pretext. I should be the 
last to deny that if Belgium had never existed it 
would have been none the less necessary, both to 
our honour and to our safety, to come to the aid 
of France in her fight against Prussian aggres- 
sion. All the same, I doubt, and I think from a 
remark he made to the Oerman Ambassador that 
Sir Edward Grey himself doubted, whether any- 
thing less flagrant than the Belgian crime would 
have nerved our Government to defy the wealth 
and power of the Pacifists and the international 
money dealers. 

As to the rights and wrongs of the Belgian 
question there is really no argument. Belgium 
was a small and pacific nation, whose attitude to- 
wards its neighbours had always been scrupu- 
lously correct, and whose neutrality had more 
than once been solemnly guaranteed by all the 



19U 149 

powers, including Prussia and England. Prus- 
sia, alleging no wrong, proposed to violate that 
neutrality because it would be convenient to at- 
tack France by a road which France, relying on 
the pledges of Belgium and the guarantee of the 
powers, had left unbarred. She proposed in the 
first instance to ask Belgium to break her prom- 
ise to France. Failing that, Prussia would break 
her promise to Belgium and invite England to 
facilitate the breach by breaking hers. In ex- 
change for all this wreck of promises, Belgium 
and England were to receive a new assortment 
of the never-to-be-broken promises of Prussia's 
King ! There is a curious simplicity as well as 
an insolent wickedness in this proposal that 
fairly takes one's breath away. 

It has been well said that we can never know 
all the good in men until we know all the evil. 
Our habit of plastering over the sins of the great 
with vague words of confidence and eulogy, some- 
times does them a real injustice. Only those 
who know how deeply corruption had bitten into 
the public life of England will be able to under- 
stand how much real heroism there was in the 
refusal of our rulers to obey the money bags in 
the matter of this war. To many of us it seemed 
that among the governing class of England hon- 



150 The Pruman Hath Saidin His Heart 

our was ntt^ly dead. Th^ had taken the mon^ 
of uaurerSy many of whom were not even English- 
men« Th^ had leceiTed these men in their 
honaes. Thej had sold them titles for themselyes 
and places on the Front Benches for their rela- 
tions and dependants. Thej had connived at 
erery profitable ramp^ and hushed np every nn- 
speakable scandal. There seemed nothing to 
which they would not stoop. And yet there was 
something. The most dramatic, perhaps, in a 
sense, the noblest incident of the dark drama is 
one of which we shall never hear, for those who 
behaved well will conceal it as carefully as those 
who behaved basely. It came when the pluto- 
crats, at the conclusion of their long tale of dis- 
honouring bargains, asked for the honour of 
England to be thrown in as a make weight 
against their money: and their demand was re- 
fused. 



CHAPTER VII 

THB BARBABIANS 

On August 3rd this year bodies of soldiers in 
blue-grey uniforms began to cross the narrow 
riyer which marks the frontier between the Ger- 
man Empire and the little independent state of 
Belgium. For days they continued to pour 
across that line, mounted Uhlans with their 
lances, great masses of infantry closely packed, 
the tall men of the Prussian Guard, carrying 
with them a lingering memory of the madness of 
old Frederick William. Guns also came with 
them, maxims, field artillery, and a little later 
the huge howitzer siege guns, the latest master- 
pieces of Krupp, able to throw shells of a ton 
weight oyer miles of country, built to make an 

end of the forts of Paris. 

• ••••• • 

All these things were new, and yet there was 
that about those great masses of moying men that 
recalled a memory. So, fifteen centuries before, 
companies of half -ciyilised mercenaries from the 

151 



1 52 The Pruman Hath Said in His Heart 

marches of the Empire, and masses of saTage 
raiders from beyond its borders, may haye passed 
that same stream and seen before them the se- 
curity and wealth of the Roman world with all 
its rich possibilities of outrage and plunder. The 
men that now followed in their track were 
trained in an exact discipline and armed with 
all the latest instruments of science. But such 
differences could not prevent a thrill of recollec- 
tion running through civilised Europe which had 
seen the thing before. They were the Barbarians. 
And they were returning. 

They approached the first of the great fort- 
resses which blocked their path. It was Id^e. 
They demanded its surrender. The thunder of 
its guns answered them. It was the answer of 
civilisation. Tiny Belgium, standing at tiie mo- 
ment alone in the face of that immense a^^res- 
sion, felt her kinship with Europe, answered 
for Europe, and placed Europe forever in her 
debt 

Of the dreadful price at which Belgium pur- 
chased imperishable glory I shall speak here 
only so far as it is necessary to the understand- 
ing of what Prussia is and why she must be de- 
stroyed. There are no words that an English- 
man can find in which to speak of Belgium and 



The Barbarians 168 

all that we feel about her. I prefer to leaye such 
feeble words as I could use unwritten, and to 
wait for the day when we may help her to see 
her desire done upon her enemies. But one as- 
pect of her martyrdom relates so closely to the 
subject of this book that I may not pass it by. 
No account of how Prussia makes war would be 
complete without a corresponding picture of 
how she wages it. 

In the two pictures the same outstanding fea- 
tures appear: a contempt of morals and a con- 
tempt of honour. It is a favourite gambit of 
the weak-minded Pacifist, who cannot even see 
what an institution is before he begins to assail 
it, to say that we must not complain of the out- 
rages incidental to war, since war is itself an 
outrage. Now war certainly involves the deliber- 
ate infliction of physical pain and death ; and, if 
you are a Materialist, and think physical pain 
and death the worst conceivable evils, you are 
entitled to say that, according to your philosophy, 
war is itself an outrage. But unless you would 
be a bigot as well as a Materialist, you must not 
assume that all men accept your first principles 
as self-evident; and you must recognise that a 
doctrine which would condemn war has certainly 
never been part of the Christian creed, any more 



154 The Prussian Hath Said in His Heart 

than a doctrine which would justify outrages on 
non-combatants has been part of the creed of the 
European warrior. 

War, as Christendom has always recognised it 
as allowable^ is an affair conducted under certain 
strict rules. Some of these rules are dictated by 
the claims of the Christian virtues of justice and 
mercy. Others are dictated by that conception of 
which I spoke in a previous chapter, which is not 
in itself specifically a Christian virtue, but is nec- 
essary to the practice of any high virtue, — the 
conception of honour. The essence of that con- 
ception is reciprocity. The rules may vary, but, 
such as they are, they must be well-known and 
apply to both sides. Each must be able to count 
on the other observing them. Now the essence 
of the Prussian theory is the denial of reciprocity. 
The Prussian, as acknowledged Superior to the 
race in general, claims in war, as in peace, to do 
what he chooses, and at the same time counts, 
as did Frederick the Oreat, on the advantage 
which he will derive from other men being ham- 
pered by scruples from which he is free. That 
fundamental conception is the key to the whole 
ghastly record of Prussian atrocities. 

It is quite certain that the campaign in Bel- 
gium and in Northern France has been conducted 



The Barbarians 155 

by the Prussian military authorities with a say- 
age cruelty altogether inconsistent with the tra- 
ditions of civilised warfare. I am not at all con- 
cerned to deny that in this connection there has 
been exaggeration and falsehood. Some stories 
have been proved to be untrue, and others are of 
such a nature as to raise doubts on their first 
hearing. We may well admit that idle rumour, 
journalistic love of sensation, and, even deliber- 
ate falsehood and fraud (as often as not devised 
by the enemy for the purpose of discrediting the 
real case against the Prussian system ) have had 
their share in many of the stories which are cur- 
rent here. 

But this does not touch the indisputable mini- 
mum contained for instance, in the official Bel- 
gian report, drawn up under the supervision of 
men of unquestionable judgment and integrity, 
including the Chief Justice of Belgium. Nor 
does it touch the stories of eye-witnesses, includ- 
ing some of our own soldiers as well as those who 
have actually taken in mutilated Belgian chil- 
dren, which we have all heard personally. Fi- 
nally, it does not and cannot touch the official 
admissions of the Prussian Government itself. 

For that Government, at least untU it was 
scared into some measure of hypocrisy by the dis- 



156 The Prussian Hath Said in His Heart 

gust of neutral nations and especially of the 
United States, made no disguise of its ruthless 
intentions. The Kaiser himself told his troops 
that they must behave in conquered territories 
with "a certain f rightfulness'' ; and they have 
done it 

On the gross offences against international 
law^ to which the Prussian official proclamations 
themselves bear witness, it is unnecessary to com- 
ment in detail. Let the following proclamation 
admittedly issued by the military authorities 
during their brief stay in Rheims, speak for it- 
self : — 

In the event of an action being fought either to-day 
or in the immediate future in the neighbourhood of 
Rheims, or in the town itself, the inhabitants are 
warned that they must remain absolutely calm and 
must in no way try to take part in the fighting. They 
must not attempt to attack either isolated soldiers or 
detachments of the Qerman Army. The erection of 
barricades, the taking up of paving stones in the streets 
in a way to hinder the movements of the troops, or, 
in a word, any action that may embarrass the Qerman 
Army is formally forbidden. 

With a view to securing adequately the safety of the 
troops and to instil calm into the population of 
Bheims, the persons named below have been seized 
as hostages by the Commander-in-Chief of the Ger- 
man Army. These hostages will be hanged at the 
slightest attempt at disorder. Also the town will be 



The Barbarians 157 

totally or partly burnt and the inhabitants wiU be 
hanged for any infraction of the above. 

By Order op the German AuTHORrriES. 

Then follow the names of eighty-one inhabitants 
of Bheims, including four priests. 

This document proves conclusively, if any 
proof were wanted, that the atrocities committed 
by the German armies are not the ordinary ex- 
cesses or reprisals of soldiers, but are part of the 
deliberate policy of the Prussian authorities. It 
is unnecessary to emphasise the violation not only 
of justice and humanity, but of international law 
involved in the Rheims proclamation. It may be 
doubted, indeed, whether the healthy conscience 
of Europe really acquiesces in the Prussian claim, 
that a man, defending his own home against a 
foreign invader, should be treated as an assassin 
if he is not in uniform ; but that claim has, for 
good or ill, been more or less admitted. The 
Germans may plead some sort of sanction for 
shooting the franc-tireur. But the franc-tirewr 
is not here in question. 

What the Prussians proposed to do was to 
hang some eighty or more admittedly innocent 
civilians, against whom no suspicion of hostile 
action is even suggested, if certain other people, 
over whom, being prisoners in the hands of the 



158 T%e Prussian Hath Said in His Heart 

enemy, they cannot possibly exercise the smallest 
control, resist the brutality of the invaders. 

This is simply murder, and no sophistry can 
make it anything else. It is earnestly to be 
hoped that wherever such a diabolical crime as is 
here shamelessly avowed as the intention of the 
Prussian authorities is committed, the officers 
responsible will be marked and, when captured, 
will be dealt with as murderers. 

The Prussian theory and practice is quite sim- 
ple and logical. Morals being as inapplicable to 
war as to diplomacy, no considerations should 
enter into the conduct of a war except a calcula- 
tion of the material factors likely to promote suc- 
cess. Now in the present war it was of the es- 
sence of the Prussian plan of campaign to strike 
an instant and overwhelming blow at France. 
The resistance of Belgium was an obstacle. To 
overcome that obstacle by the thorough military 
conquest and occupation of Belgium meant de- 
lay, and it meant the employment of men who 
were needed for the projected march on Paris, 
Therefore Belgium must be held, not by a regular 
military occupation, but by a reign of terror 
sufficiently savage to cow its inhabitants into 
submission. 

I am not saying for a moment that, even from 



The Barbarians 159 

an unmoral point of view, such a policy is wise. 
I believe on the contrary, that, like all the de- 
velopments of the modem Prussian mind, it is 
tainted with a kind of madness which is the 
nemesis of a divorce from instinctive morals. 
But I also think that it involves a complete mis- 
understanding of the way in which the Christian 
conscience works in Europeans. The Prussian, 
with his "Master Morality" and "Slave Moral- 
ity," virtually divides the human race into bullies 
and cowards. He did not appear to be aware, 
until this war had broken out and had been car- 
ried to a certain point, that any other kind of 
man existed. Possibly that truth is beginning to 
dawn on him now. Before the war is over he may 
begin to realise that Christendom is essentially a 
military thing ; not a sheep, but a lion. I think 
that history will see that it would have paid the 
Prussians much better to have treated Belgium 
with greatest respect and consideration, and to 
have refrained from inflicting any hardships not 
inseparable from the state of war. Had they 
done so it is quite possible that there would have 
been many Belgians who would have been in- 
clined to say that enough had been done for 
honour, and that further resistance could not 
reasonably be expected of them. As it is, there 



160 The Prussian Hath Said in His Heart 

is no Belgian^ and for a matter of that no Eng- 
lishman or Frenchman^ who has not had the hor- 
rors of the Prussian occupation, the slaughtered 
non-combatants, the desecrated churches, the 
outraged women and the mutilated children, 
branded into his mind, and who does not feel that 
it would be unspeakable if peace were made until 
Prussia had paid to the last farthing for her 
crimes. 

The atrocities were not wisely calculated, but 
they were calculated. They were part of a de- 
liberate policy pursued for a definite reason. 
Only when we have grasped this does the story 
become a plain and credible one. The horrors 
perpetrated in Belgium and later in Northern 
France must always remain unintelligible (and 
therefore difficult to believe) to those who do not 
perceive that horror was the effect aimed at 

Why, it may be asked, select for military exe- 
cution or worse the most obviously helpless and 
harmless of non-combatants, the very people 
whose presence and activities could not possibly 
constitute a military danger? Why make such a 
specialty of shooting priests? Why murder and 
outrage women? Why massacre or mutilate 
young children? How can the village cur4 be 
an obstacle to your 17 in. hoiiitzerg? How can 



The Barbarians 161 

old women and young girls resist the Prussian 
Guard ? How can the cutting off of a baby^s fin- 
gers or the gouging of one of its eyes help your 
plan of campaign? Do you expect the war to 
last till it grows up? 

To all this the real Prussian answer is simple : 
"These things horrify you. That is why we do 
them. The congregation regard the priest as a 
holy man ; therefore his death ( the more if he is 
innocent of any offence) will impress their mem- 
ories. Women in civilised war are held sacred ; 
therefore we murder and outrage them to show 
that we are not waging civilised war. The help- 
lessness of a child appeals irresistibly to human 
hearts; therefore we cut off its fingers to show 
that we are not human. Call us Supermen, call 
us Devils ; it does not matter so long as you are 
afraid of us. The more you think we are Devils, 
the less likely you are to come within a mile of us, 
and your fear of our devilry will be a better pro- 
tection of our lines of communication than three 
or four army corps could afford.'^ 

What I have said of the murder and mutilation 
of non-combatants applies also to the destruction 
of public and ancient buildings, the bombard- 
ment of undefended towns and the like. These 
also were in most instances not spontaneous, but 



162 The Prussian Hath Said in His Heart 

calculated. The calculation was this: "The 
Belgians value their historic monuments and will 
dislike their being destroyed. If we choose the 
one which they hold most sacred, every other 
town which possesses and values similar treas- 
ures will be put in fear. We will bum Louvain, 
taking special care to destroy its valuable library. 
Then such towns as Ghent, Bruges, Brussels it- 
self, Antwerp will be the less likely to offer re- 
sistance, if we should need to occupy them. That 
Louvain has not in fact offered any resistance 
does not matter in the least Its fate, innocent 
or guilty, will be equally an example to others. 
It will create terror; and that is all we want." 
And as a fact the Prussian action does seem to 
have produced the desired result in the case of 
certain Belgian cities, such as Ghent, which de- 
sired to avoid the wholesale demolition of the 
memorials of their past. 

All this is what distinguishes Prussian atroci- 
ties from those excesses which occur from time 
to time in all wars when troops get out of hand. 
The Prussian troops, in most cases, did not do 
these things because they were out of hand, but 
because they were only too well in hand. The 
Kaiser himself had told his officers to create "a 
certain frightfulness'^ in Belgium. These officers. 



The Barbarians 163 

who had studied the military text books of their 
country, and knew exactly what he meant, passed 
on the order in more concrete form and in greater 
detail to their soldiers. The soldiers in their 
turn obeyed. I have no doubt that in many cases 
both officers and soldiers obeyed unwillingly. 
They obeyed because they were in the frame of 
mind which all Prussian discipline works to pro- 
duce; because they were afraid to disobey. 
Every one who values the chivalric element in 
war prefers to admire his enemy, and one is there- 
fore glad to note the several occasions upon 
which, according to reliable testimony, the Ger- 
man soldiers really did ''get out of hand" and 
behaved like decent and kindly Europeans. In 
the German Navy, when no special orders for 
atrocities appear to have been issued, the Ger- 
man record seems to be clean and honourable, 
as well as being, when all the circumstances are 
considered, highly distinguished. 

I have said so much of the atrocity of the Prus- 
sian spirit that I have hardly left myself space 
to speak of its other and much less important 
quality, which is also the consequence of its 
loss, or rather repudiation, of the idea of ''hon- 
our,'' its clirious vulgarity. But that quality is 
very apparent whether in the Emperor's crude 



164 The Prussian Hath Said in His Heart 

and effeminate sneers at his ^'contemptible" ene- 
mies, or in the action of his son, the heir to the 
Prussian throne, who when ensconced in a French 
country house, takes the opportunity to make 
away with the family plate after the fashion of a 
common burglar. Morals apart, what has become 
of the common sense of human dignity in royal 
personages who do such things? The answer is 
that it has gone the way of chivalry, humanity and 
honour, as result of that denial of the reciprocal 
rights of man and man which is the Prussian first 
principle. The Crown Prince doubtless thinks 
that in looting peaceful houses he is showing 
himself in the light of a splendid and renowned 
conqueror. The only answer is that civilised 
people do not feel like that 

We may take it, then, that the atrocities of the 
Prussians are in the main calculated and de- 
liberately ordered. 

Nevertheless, the fact remains that human na- 
ture is so made that if you force men on pain of 
death or savage punishment to behave like devils 
the probable result in most cases will be, that, if 
they obey you, they become like devils. I have 
already pointed out that the twisting of the moral 
instincts which the whole Prussian system in- 



The Barbarians 165 

volves, tends to produce that fearful moral dis- 
ease which we call perversion. If this is so with 
civilians^ it is much more so with soldiers^ for the 
traditions of the profession of arms are chival- 
rous^ and a soldier sins against his nature much 
more by such acts as the slaughter of women and 
children than an ordinary man would. 

There is a certain ironical fitness in the fact 
that the Prussian Oovemment selected the no- 
torious Dr. Molly one of its academic and official 
apologists for perversion, to write a report on 
^'the state of mind of the Belgian people." His 
conclusion, so far as I remember, was that the 
Belgians were suffering from a "collective 
hallucination," the result of their "illiteracy" 
and of the unaccustomed "excitement" produced 
by the appearance of armed Prussians in their 
midst I am not sure whether the Prussians 
themselves were part of the hallucination, or 
whether the Prussians were really present, only 
the Belgians falsely imagined them to be cutting 
off children's fingers when they were really only 
shaking hands with them. In any case, one 
might doubt Dr. Moll's ability to investigate the 
psychology of decent Christian folk. If he had 
turned his attention to the psychology of the 



166 The Prusmam Hath Said m His Heart 



Pmflrian officers and soldiers he might ha^e 
found a subject more soitable to his talents and 
more consonant with his former studies. 

For it seems certain that the dement of per- 
rerted malice mingled with that of deliberate 
political calculation in the case of many outrages 
both on human beings and on historic monu- 
ments. To take the less grave case of the latter : 
while the burning of LouTain seems to have had 
a definite object, — the intimidation of the other 
historic Belgian towns where the Prussians 
wished to establish an undisputed dominion, — 
the bombardment of Bheims Cathedral, though it 
must have been ordered by a high authority — 
seems to have been purely wanton. The lie that 
a post of observation had been stationed on the 
tower has been refuted by the French War Of- 
fice, but it hardly needed refutation. The fact 
that it was not put forward until several days 
had passed and until several other and quite 
contradictory explanations of the incident had 
been given, stamps it as an afterthought On 
the other hand, the deliberation with which shells 
were aimed at the noblest of all the heritages 
of Christendom is fully proved. There seems to 
have been no possible motive, political or mili- 
tary, for the outrage. It must have been simply 



The Barbarians 167 

malicious; that is to say, it proceeded from an 
evil will. 

And yet there was a sense in which these Prus- 
sian soldiers were right. In attacking the 
monuments of the old civic freedom in Flanders 
and the monuments of the old European religion 
in France they were really attacking their enemy, 
the enemy which stands behind Cossack lances 
and French "75's*' and British bayonets, the 
enemy that will conquer them at last: the soul 
of Europe. 

Let me resume my narrative. The Oerman 
armies swept on through devastated Belgium, 
through northern France, up to the very gates of 
Paris. While their left wing threatened the city 
where more than a thousand years before Count 
Robert had held his own against the Danes, their 
centre swept southward across the Mame. And 
still the Allies retired. 

But they were fighting in a country full of 
the memories of resistance. Behind them was 
Bheims, where Joan of Arc brought a King to 
be crowned. To their left was Valmy, where the 
great Prussian charge, which should have 
crushed the Revolution, faltered and failed. A 
little way in front of them the waters of the 



168 The Prussian Hath Said in His Heart 

Aube wound through fields where Danton had 
played as a child. And in the midst of their line 
of march stood the Camp of AttUa. 

It was on the Feast of Our Lady's Nativity 
when they reached this country, so full of great 
memories, that the French General fell suddenly 
on their flank with a great reserve force whose 
onslaught saved Paris. 

The Barbarians were driven back across the 
Mame, past Rheims, across the Aisne, step by 
step towards the darkness out of which they 
came. 



CHAPTER VIII 

"^^THOU SHALT NOT SUFFBB A WITCH TO LlVlf' 

I NOW come to the practical part of this book. I 
have endeavoured to trace the history of Prus- 
sian policy from the days of Frederick the Great 
to the time of writing, and to show why, if Eu- 
rope was not to perish, a European combination 
formed for the purpose of disarming Prussia was 
inevitable. From that argument a clear practi- 
cal moral is to be derived, and it is my intention 
to attempt to enforce that moral in the present 
chapter. 

I shall assume the ultimate victory of the 
Allies. I think myself justified in doing so 
(though the "inevitable'' victory is an unchival- 
rous and unmilitary conception) for three rea- 
sons. Firstly, every one of the Allies has staked 
almost its existence as an independent nation on 
the issue of the war, and is therefore bound to 
go on fighting to its last man ; and two of them at 
least are in a position to carry on the struggle 
indefinitely, and would be bound for their own 

169 



170 The Prusdan Hath Said in His Heart 

sake to do so. Secondly^ the complete failure of 
the Fnissian attempt to crush France before the 
pressure of Russia began to be felt, implies the 
failure of the calculation upon which the Prus- 
sians themselves relied for success. Thirdly, it 
is no good discussing what would happen to Eu- 
rope in the event of an ultimate Prussian victory, 
because, in that event, there would be no Europe 
for anything to happen to. 

I assume, therefore, a victory for the Allies; 
and directly that victory begins to take bodily 
shape, I perceive a peril against which all of them 
must be on their guard, but which especially af- 
fects England. 

We say, and say justly, that for the purposes 
of this war we English are a united people. 
That statement is true of us to-day as it was 
never true of us in relation to any public question 
which has been agitated within living memory. 
It is not that, as was the case during the South 
African War, there is a large majority in favour 
of the war and a comparatively small minority 
opposed to it. The whole nation is in favour of 
the war; those opposed to it are simply indi- 
viduals who have, for one reason or another, been 
temporarily or permanently de-nationalised. 
Those who cannot ^conceive of such a state of 



''Thou Shalt not Suffer a Witch to Live'' 171 

things are simply those to whom the word De- 
mocracy has never had any real meaning. Real 
democracy would mean government not by arti- 
ficial electioneering majorities^ but by just such 
corporate acts of the national will. 

Nevertheless, it would be an error not to realise 
that there is a distinction to be drawn in this 
respect between our case and that of most of our 
Allies. Of France, for instance, it would at this 
moment be true to say that all Frenchmen (un- 
less they are actually traitors) have at this mo- 
ment a single will. That a particular French- 
man happens to be a Catholic or a Freethinker, 
a Socialist or a Royalist, makes no difference to 
his attitude, any more than such variations of 
opinion and creed would make any difference to 
a man's desire to knock out of the hands of an 
assassin the pistol which is being held to his head. 
Any Frenchman who were at this moment to offer 
public opposition to the war would certainly be 
killed. Only the other day we had a conspicuous 
illustration of the national temper. M. Anatole 
France, for many years a protagonist of Pacifism, 
had, while warmly supporting the war, ventured 
to repeat some of the old futile, but (in the par- 
ticular circumstances) more or less treasonable, 
rubbish about "international solidarity." He 



172 The Prussian Hath Said in His Heart 

was instantly denounced and (very characteris- 
tically) denounced with special vehemence by 
Gustav Herv6, the whilom apostle of anti-mili- 
tarism, and had to purge himself by offering his 
services at the age of seventy as a soldier. The 
same temper of unanimity would certainly be 
found in Belgium, and, I should guess, in Serbia. 
In Russia you might find, perhaps, a few un- 
national eccentrics prepared to oppose the war. 
But that is because Russia, like this country, is 
thought to be more or less immune from really 
serious invasion. 

Thanks to our fleet, we, for the most part, be- 
lieve ourselves to be safe from any actual in- 
vasion by the German army, and from the conse- 
quent repetition in Kent or Essex of the scenes 
which Flanders and Champagne have witnessed. 
I fancy that if there were a serious naval dis- 
aster, or a raid upon our coasts, the populace 
would make very short work of the Pacifists. 
While, however, we feel fairly secure we are not 
prepared to proceed to extremes, and such men 
are suffered to write and phampleteer and even 
to venture on speechmaking without serious 
molestation. 

The same sense of security leads us to tolerate, 
as certainly no other nation would tolerate, the 



''Thou Shalt not Sufer a Witch to Live"' 178 

immunity which our Government extends to men 
of Oerman birth and associations ; men who have 
been and in some cases still are powerful in 
finance and politics; men who, if they are not 
actually betraying the country, are at any rate 
not likely to be whole heartedly hostile to our 
present enemies. 

Now I am decidedly of opinion that the 
toleration of the mere harmless, eccentric Pacifist 
is wise; and, though I think the toleration of 
the alien or semi-alien financier and plutocrat 
suicidal folly, I do not imagine that such men, 
whatever other harm they may be doing to us, 
are able at the present time to deflect in any 
serious manner the direction of our national 
policy. But the danger arising from the exist- 
ence of these two groups may appear later. 

So long as the issue remains in any way doubt- 
ful, and especially so long as this country is in 
any danger, one may feel pretty well assured 
that proposals for an insufficient peace will fall 
upon deaf ears. But we cannot be so sure that 
this will be so after a victory, or a series of vic- 
tories, which may appear to make the triumph of 
the Allies an assured event. 

I believe that the great mass of Englishmen 
are determined that this war shall not end until 



174 The Prussian Hath Said in His Heart 

our principal enemy is utterly broken and dis- 
armed. But unfortunately in normal circum- 
stances (and circumstances in the conditions I 
have presumed, would be reverting towards the 
normal) it is not so much the opinions of the 
mass of Englishmen that will count as the opin- 
ions (or interests) of certain groups of wealthy 
men. And there is, unhappily, a great deal of 
money and what is euphemistically called "in- 
fluence," which is ready to be mobilised on the 
Pacifist side as soon as circumstances appear 
favourable. 

Take the case of the Press. Practically the 
whole English Press is governed by a few rich 
men. It is at the moment unanimously patriotic. 
But it would be sheer folly to forget that up to 
the very moment when war was declared there 
was a considerable section of it that was sympa- 
thetic with our enemies. 

The Daily News and the Star are the properly 
of a rich cocoa-manufacturer, who happens to in- 
herit along with his wealth the religious faith of 
a curious seventeenth-century sect, which among 
the madnesses of that age (such as that of the 
Adamites, who went about naked to prove their 
innocence) developed the fantastic idea that 
Christianity forbade an appeal to arms. Up to 



''Thau Shalt not Suffer a Witch to Live'' 176 

the very moment of the outbreak of war the 
Daily News was fiercely pro-Gterman, not only 
denouncing Sir Edward Grey's diplomacy, but 
printing from day to day letters from Liberal 
M.P.'s and others protesting against our inter- 
vention, among the names appended being the sig- 
nificant one of Mr. Neil Primrose, a "Liberal 
Imperialist" by profession, but also a Rothschild 
by blood. Even the determination of Prussia to 
violate the neutrality of Belgium did not appar- 
ently satisfy the Cocoa Trust that our action was 
legitimate, and the first leading article that ap- 
peared in its organ on the outbreak of war, ex- 
pressed an only slightly chastened protest. It 
was not till a few days later that the Daily 
News professed a complete conversion, — the con- 
tents of the Official White Paper being offered to 
account for it. We were all glad of the change 
which bore testimony to the absolute unanimity 
with which the nation stood behind the Govern- 
ment. But it is impossible to avoid asking one- 
self the question : Might not another conversion, 
equally sudden and miraculous, appear as the 
first result of a decisive victory of the Allies? 
Add to these powerful newspaper proprietors 
the number of great financiers of German birth 
or family connections to whom I have alluded 



176 The Prussian Hath Said in His Heart 

(the Chairman of one of our greatest English 
Banks was bom a German; and another bom 
German who has actually a brother in Frankfort, 
advising the Prussian Government and another 
brother in New York, patronising and financing 
the anti-English campaign in that city, is virtual 
master of London's Transit) and it will be obvi- 
ous that there is plenty of influential backing 
available for a Pacifist campaign when the right 
moment arrives. As to the lines upon which such 
a campaign might be developed we have a signifi- 
cant hint from an incident which occurred in 
the quite early days of the war. 

On September lOth this year the Morning 
Post published a circular which had been secretly 
sent out to those who were, as we may suppose, 
regarded as suitable recipients. It bore the fol- 
lowing signatures: "J. Ramsay Macdonald," 
"Charles Trevelyan," "Norman Angell" and "E. 
D. Morel," who is described as "Hon. Sec. and 
Treasurer {pro tem.).^^ It contains, of course, a 
great deal of irrelevant verbiage, but we shall 
not be far wrong if we consider the third pro- 
posed object of the movement as the gravamen 
of the whole document. It ran as follows : "To 
aim at securing such terms that this war will 
not, either through the humiliation of the de- 



''Thou Shalt not Suffer a Witch to Live'' 177 

feated nation or an artificial rearrangement of. 
frontiers, merely become the starting point for 
new national antagonisms and future wars." As 
to the means by which William II and his Prus- 
sian entourage were to be spared the "humilia- 
tion" which — though perhaps less painful than 
the fate of the inhabitants of Louvain — would 
yet gall their humane and sensitive souls, I may 
quote the following very significant passage : — 

"When the time is ripe for it, but not before the 
country is secure from danger, meetings will be or- 
ganised and speakers provided. But the immediate 
need is in our opinion to prepare for the issue of books, 
pamphlets, and leaflets dealing with the course of 
recent policy and suggesting the lines of action for the 
future. Measures are being taken to prepare these 
at once and they will be ready for publication when 
the proper opportunity occurs. For this purpose we 
shall be glad of any subscription which you can spare, 
and would like to know if you are willing to support 
us in this effort, in order that we may communicate 
with you as occasion arises. 

I do not profess to know when the signatories 
of this document, would in the ordinary course of 
things, have considered the time "ripe" for the 
prosecution of their activities without personal 
risk. But I fancy that the premature exposure 
of the plot by the Morning Post led to the pre- 
mature publication a week later of an of9cial 



178 The Prussian Hath Said in His Heart 

manifesto, to which were appended the same sig- 
natures with the additional name of Mr. Arthur 
Ponsonby, M.P. 

A comparison between these two documents is 
very suggestive. We have seen that in the secret 
application for funds made, it may be presumed, 
to wealthy men of pro-German sympathies, 
prominence was given to the desirability of spar- 
ing the enemy ^^humiliation." From the public 
manifesto this passage, which is the key to the 
whole, is deleted, and we are left with nothing but 
platitudes about "democracy" and "nationality," 
the need of a permanent peace, the impropriety 
of transferring populations from one State to 
another against their will (this from the apolo- 
gists of Prussia ! ) and the wickedness of what is 
called "secret diplomacy." Some of the obser- 
vations made are just, others are somewhat fool- 
ish and visionary, others may be regarded as 
sound or unsound according to the precise mean- 
ing to be put upon their very vague and obscure 
phraseology. Had we had nothing but this pub- 
lic appeal by which to judge, we should account 
it a hasty excursion into international politics 
on the part of well-meaning amateurs who had 
not the knowledge and experience to understand 
them. But its real meaning, to which all this 



"TJum Shalt not Suffer a Witch to Live'' 179 

hazy Idealism is only intended to lead up^ is to 
be found in the suppressed clause which I have 
quoted from the real manifesto of the signatories, 
— the manifesto on which they hoped to get their 
money. 

Now I am not suggesting that the signatories 
themselves are likely ever to be in a position to 
do this country grave injury. I do not under- 
rate their abilities. Mr. Macdonald is an astute 
intriguer, who for years "led" the "Labour 
Party," — on more than one occasion into the 
enemy's camp. The gentleman who signs him- 
self "Norman Angell" — a certain Mr. Lane, I be- 
lieve, — ^is certainly the ablest of Lord North- 
cliffe's journalistic pupils, and has acquired a 
great reputation (in Carmelite Street) as an orig- 
inal thinker on the strength of a crude re-state- 
ment, without acknowledgment, of some of 
the less well-founded conclusions of the late 
Bichard Cobden. Mr. Morel has for years spe- 
cialised in anti-Belgian and anti-French agita- 
tions, all of them more or less favourable to 
(German interests and supported by funds the 
source of which he has obstinately refused to 
disclose. There is, therefore, nothing surprising 
in finding him "Hon. Sec. {pro tem.^^) of an anti- 
English agitation, now that England and Oer- 



180 The Prussian Hath Said in His Heart 

many are at war. As for Messrs. Trevelyan and 
Ponsonby, their adhesion to the doctrines of the 
manifesto is probably more single-minded than 
that of their colleagues; and their names at 
least suffice to give those colleagues the entree to 
the governing class. But the real danger, as I 
have said, lies in the power of the very wealthy 
men who may at any time be prepared to back 
these men in their attempts, at a critical moment, 
to confuse their issue. 

Of course, it may be said that Great Britain has 
bound herself to her allies not to make a separate 
peace, and that therefore the most strenuous ef- 
forts that the Pacifists may make in this country 
will in any case be nullified by the determination 
of France and Russia to make an end forever of 
the Prussian menace. That is perfectly true, but 
most of us would not be content to see England 
a passive and negligible factor in the settlement 
which is to follow this war. England more than 
any of the Allies, more even than France or 
Belgium, is fighting for her life. England (with 
Scotland and Ireland) will be putting more and 
more men into the field so long as the war lasts, 
and will thus be in the advantageous position 
of being relatively stronger at its end than at its 
beginning. We want the infiuence of England to 



''Thou Shalt not Suffer a Witch to lAve"' 181 

be felt, and we wish it to be felt as a force mak- 
ing for the final and decisive overthrow of that 
enemy which is especially hers as well as Eu- 
rope's. 

Now, for myself, directly I saw from a compari- 
son of their expurgated and unexpurgated mani- 
festos what line the Pacifists were likely to adopt 
as soon as they thought it prudent to take the 
field in earnest, I saw that there was only one 
way in which such tactics could eflfectively be 
met It was no earthly good trying to meet the 
vague and declamatory aspirations after "peace'' 
and "democracy" with successive rebuttals. 
Moreover, some of these aspirations were in them- 
selves reasonable and desirable, while an explana- 
tion of the obvious difficulties involved would be 
tedious, and from the point of view of popular 
propaganda altogether ineffective. It was not 
what these people publicly asked for that was 
objectionable or even dangerous : it was what they 
privately wanted. What that was, thanks to the 
Morning Post and its revelations, we were in a 
position to know. They wanted to save Prussia 
and its King from "humiliation." It would be 
unreasonable to expect democrats like Mr. Mac- 
donald to feel for the humiliation of any one be- 
low the rank of an Emperor! But I, with my 



182 The Prussian Hath Said in His Heart 

thoughts fixed on the humiliation, the oppressioD, 
the mutilation and torture of a dozen free and 
gallant peoples from the Poles to the Belgians, 
wanted Prussia not only humiliated but de- 
stroyed. And the only way to assist the ac- 
complishment of such an end seemed to be to 
show the people of this country what Prussia 
was, and why her continued existence was an 
insult to God and Man. 

That is what in this book I have tried to ac- 
complish. How far I have succeeded I know 
not, but at least if I have made my readers see 
Prussia at all as I see her, they will have no 
difficulty in evading any diversions which her 
friends in England and elsewhere may seiek in 
her interests to create. 

Scipio Africanus, we are told, was in the habit 
of concluding all his speeches, no matter what 
might be the subject of debate, with the remark : 
"And in my opinion Carthage should be de- 
stroyed," — followed, one may suppose, by a hasty 
resumption of his seat before the Speaker could 
call him to order ! I recommend a similar policy 
whenever Mr. Morel, Mr. Lane and the rest may 
consider the time "ripe^^ for confusing the issue 
in the interests of Prussia. We need not argue 
with them on the side-issues which they will try 



''Tlum Shalt not Suffer a Witch to Live'' 188 

to thrust under our notice. We may accept much 
that they say, — all that they say, if we choose. 
But we must in each case add Scipio's comment 

They may say: "Secret diplomacy is the 
enemy. Is it not deplorable that nations should 
be involved in a course of foreign policy to which 
they have never been asked to assent?^' And 
we shall answer, "Most deplorable. But at the 
moment we are not engaged in diplomacy but in 
war. And Prussia must be destroyed.'^ 

They may say: "Shall not every nation be 
consulted as to its own future destiny ?" And we 
shall answer: "Yes, every nation except Prus- 
sia, — ^which must be destroyed.^^ 

They may say: "Germany has her own con- 
tribution to make to the common civilisation of 
Europe. Think of all that we owe to her ! Think 
of her quaint legends and kindly ceremonies. 
Think of the music of Beethoven, the poetry of 
Schiller, the philosophy of Kant, the art of Al- 
bert Dllrer! Shall not these things endure to 
be a joy to countless generations yet to come?" 
And we shall answer : "May they endure and , 
have due honour forever — ^after Prussia is de- 
stroyed." 

And finally they may say : "After this dread- 
ful war is over, shall there not be universal peace 



184 The Prussian Hath Said in His Heart 

and good will among men forever ?'' And we, 
perceiving their thoughts shall answer : **What 
hast thou to do with peace, O Apologist for Devil- 
try? Get thee behind me ! Prussia must be de- 
stroyed !" 

Prussia is already judged by her peers, and 
judged justly. On their conscience and honour 
they find her worthy of death. In the name of 
that very principle of nationality for which they 
are fighting, they pronounce one nation — ^if it 
be a nation — ^unfit to live. 

It will be said — ^it has been said time and 
again by Pacifist writers and speakers — that 
their own hands are not clean. They are not 
There is not one of them that has not done in- 
numerable wicked things, — ^the wickedest thing 
being, perhaps, the aid which each, at one time or 
another, has given to this universal enemy of 
European civilisation and Christian morals. 
For that sin, each is paying in the agony of the 
present war, in the toll of her dead and the sor- 
row of her mourners. And it need not be denied 
that on the record of England, of France, of Rus- 
sia, there are many stains. Each has often and 
often chosen evil rather than good. But none 
save Prussia has ever said: "Evil be thou my 
Good." For the nation or the man who does that 



"Thou Shalt not Suffer a Witch to Ldve"' 186 

there remains only the terrible words which I 
have chosen as the title of this chapter. The 
repentant sinner may not have the right to 
judge other sinners; but he has a right to judge 
the warlock. And Europe, with all her sins on 
her head, has a right to judge Prussia. 

I have hinted that Prussia is hardly to be 
called a nation. It is rather an institution ani- 
mated by a certain spirit, and a certain creed. 
In whatsoever things that spirit and creed may 
be inherent, a dynasty, an army, a political sys- 
tem, a caste — those things must, at the end of 
this war, cease to exist. From whatever federa- 
tion or grouping of states it may be suitable to 
create in the Germanics, everything Prussian 
must be excluded. Prussian rulers must never 
again have access to the wealth of stolen prov- 
inces, like Silesia and Westphalia, on which to 
build great armies and fleets. The Prussians 
must be hedged and confined within those cold 
deserts from which their kings first set out on a 
career of outrage and loot. They must have no 
army, no fleet, no fortifications, no resources 
which would enable them to do further mischief 
to their neighbours or challenge again in arms 
the common morals of Christendom. 

Nothing short of such a'policy will really jus- 



186 TJie Prussian Hath Said in His Heart 

tifj the ya£t sacrifices and awful perils of this 
war. To leave Prussia merely defeated with the 
loss of this or that province, and the imposition 
of this or that indemnity, would be to ask her to 
take up her evil work again on the morrow. 
Prussia, for all her boasting, has been defeated 
before, but never before has Europe had the 
same full determination to make the defeat final 
and irrevocable. We cannot be content with 
merely weakening Prussia: we must take such 
steps as shall forever prevent her from recovering 
her strength. Nor would the dethronement, or 
exile, or death of any one man ever touch the 
problem. As I have already said : it is against no 
living men that we are really making war. 

Among the dark and frightful legends of Satan- 
ism there is none more hideous than that of the 
Vampire. According to this strange tradition or 
fancy a human being could, by compact with 
the Powers of Darkness, purchase a horrible 
terrestrial immorality by draining secretly the 
blood of his fellow-creatures. No ordinary 
weapon could kill such a being; he was immune 
from rope and sword, fire and water. The lost 
soul could only be driven from the body to the 
Hell prepared for it by means of ceremonies al- 



''Thou Shalt not Suffer a Witch to Live'' 187 

most as ghastly as the terrors which they sought 
to exorcise. 

Those who have tried to follow the story of 
Europe since the middle of the eighteenth century 
can almost see such a being moving across its 
darkened face. The foul spirit seems to take hu- 
man form^ now in one man, now in another. 
These men die, but the spirit is not laid. Con- 
tinually it reappears, sucking the life of nations, 
leaving in its track broken and bloodless corpses 
where had been happy races and free families. It 
is doomed to death many times, and great armies 
with sword and cannon are brought against it, 
and they win or lose, and go to their homes ; but 
it does not die. 

When the victorious Allies meet at last at the 
cross-roads of Europe, they will find many huge 
and difficult tasks concerning the remaking of 
Christendom to test their strength and wisdom. 
But one task must come before all others : the 
driving of the dreadful stake through the heart 
of Frederick the Second. 



CHAPTER IX 

AFTER THE WAR 

We have not infrequently heard of late a cer- 
tain expression about this war ; it is a specially 
favourite one with newly-converted Pacifists, 
who are naturally unwilling to confess that their 
past professions and ideals were wholly illusory. 
This, it is said, is a war to end war. 

For myself, I do not think that a good de- 
scription either of the object or of the probable 
results of the present tremendous contest. I do 
not think it is a war to end war: I think it 
might be more fitly described as a war to end a 
certain kind of peace — the peace of Prussia that 
passeth all abhorrence. 

It is a curious symptom of the decay of clear 
thinking in this age of ours that people seem no 
longer able to distinguish between special and 
acute evils afflicting some particular unhappy 
society and the ordinary imperfections common 
to all human societies. We can still see the dis- 

186 



After The War 189 

tinction — though even this Eugenists are busily 
trying to make us lose sight of it — ^in matters af- 
fecting bodily well-being. When a doctor tells 
us that if we follow a certain treatment we shall 
be well soon, we do not understand him to be 
promising a body immune henceforth from all 
physical ills, or even a state of ideally perfect 
health in the near future. We take him to mean 
merely that the particular thing that is specially 
the matter with us at the moment will no longer 
afflict us. But we have forgotten that the same 
thing holds good of the diseases of societies. 
Thus you will find men citing the fact that in all 
ages and nations there have always been inequal- 
ities of income as an argument for regarding the 
monstrous and insane distribution of wealth 
which we see around us to-day — a thing probably 
never paralleled in the world before, and cer- 
tainly at no time save in the last stages of na- 
tional decline — as a thing normal and unalter- 
able by human wisdom ; while, on the other hand, 
if you say that to make a happy and secure com- 
munity it is desirable that virtually all families 
should own property, you will be challenged by 
Socialists and others to show that under such a 
system you could guarantee a permanent and 
mathematically equal division of material wealth 



190 The Prussian Hath Said in His Heart 

— ^a thing which no nation has ever either at- 
tained or desired. The same kind of people will 
think that if you defend the institution of mar- 
riage you are maintaining that all marriages are 
ideally happy. They will also tell you that "al- 
cohol" is a poison^ and deduce that ale ought to 
be treated like prussic acid. 

There is just the same lack of the power to dis- 
tinguish between the normal and the abnormal 
in much of the talk we hear about "Militarism.'* 
Defenders of the war — especially those who have 
a Pacifist past to explain away — say that we are 
fighting to put down "German Militarism." 
Whereupon the unconverted Pacifists retort that 
we have "Militarism" here, and that so have the 
French and the Bussians. And then the repent- 
ant Pacifist perhaps says : "Yes : but our Mili- 
tarism is not so bad as German Militarism." 
And then we have a discussion as to whether 
Russian Militarism is not worse than German 
Militarism. And, meanwhile, no one thinks of 
asking what exact meaning is to the word Mili- 
tarism. Still less does any one find it necessary 
to state clearly what there was abnormal about 
the armed force of Prussia, and why Europe will 
be in a happier and healthier condition when it 
is shattered for ever. 



After The War 191 

When Prussia set oat to deny the existence 
of any common conscience of Europe which had 
authority over all European nations, to deny that 
treaties and contracts were binding on any power 
that felt strong enough to break them, to deny 
the rights of nationality, to deny honour, to deny 
reciprocity of obligation between States and in- 
dividuals, — ^in a word, to deny all those princi- 
ples upon which the comity of Europe is 
founded; and when she proposed to back these 
denials with an immense armament created for 
the purpose, the most honourable and courageous 
thing for the European nations to have done 
would have been to have attacked her in defence 
of the institutions she insulted and threatened. 
They did not do this for reasons which I have 
attempted partly to analyse in this book. They 
preferred a less heroic policy, which was never- 
theless the only policy that, after refusing to 
challenge instant battle, they could adopt — the 
policy of imitation. 

All nations have always had armies of some 
kind to defend themselves against their neigh- 
bours, and support such claims as those neigh- 
bours might challenge. There is nothing ab- 
normal in that ; if it is an imperfection, it is an 
imperfection incidental to the organisation of 



192 The Prusnan Hath Said in His Heart 

men in nations, and can only be destroyed by 
destroying nations, — ^an idea as unthinkable as 
it is odious. But there is something abnormal 
in the frantic piling up of armaments, the wild 
race to secure more men and more guns, which 
has gone on with ever-increaBing speed for the 
last forty years. And that abnormality was the 
direct result of the presence in Europe of a 
Power which challenged the common morals of 
the comily of nations, armed in support of that 
challenge, yet which the other nations would not 
fight. From that unnatural condition pro- 
ceeded a disease from which it is not unreason- 
able to hope that this war will relieve us. 

Prussia had to arm because it was her theory 
that armed force was the only thing that counted, 
and because it was on the strength of her su- 
premacy in arms that she challenged the con- 
science of the world. The other nations, since 
they did not choose to fight Prussia, had to arm 
because, if they did not do so, they knew that 
Prussia would instantly attack them. Hence 
Conscription answered Conscription and Dread- 
nought answered Dreadnought, and the whole 
energies of Europe were directed to a single end 
— the creation of mightier and more costly en- 
gines of destruction. 



After The War 198 

I say that this was unnatural and therefore 
bad. Armies are not unnatural. Wars are not 
unnatural. But it is unnat{iral that nations 
should be in a continual state of feverish prepa- 
ration for a war that is continually delayed. 
Normally a nation ought to be either fighting or 
living at peace. A reasonable readiness for war 
oughty of course, to be common to all nations. 
But the Armed Peace, as it existed before the 
outbreak of this war, was, as I have said, an ab- 
normal condition, which could never have come 
into being or been maintained but for the pres- 
ence of something unwholesome in the constitu- 
tion of Europe — the unwholesome thing being, 
of course, the military power of the great Atheist 
State.^ 

I need hardly explain that I do not mean that 
the nations of Europe should have refused to 

1 Much the same applies to the elaborate system of espionage 
which Prussia initiated and forced upon the whole of Europe. 
Of course all nations have always used spies in time of war; 
and, though the spy, if caught, was very properly shot, no dis- 
grace attached to the practice. But the organisation of an 
elaborate system of espionage in friendly countries in time of 
peace is one of Prussia's contributions to the decadence of 
European morals. Other nations have been forced to follow her 
example, though none of them have gone to the same lengths. 
The system of promiscuous payment for all information re- 
ceived, which makes every German, naturalised or unnatural- 
ised, resident in a foreign country a potential spy, is peculiar 
to the Prussian Government. One may reasonably hope that 
with the destruction of that Government it will cease to exist. 



194 TJie Prussian Hath Said in His Heart 

take part in the competition which Prussia had 
started and steadily maintained. That would 
simply have been buttering themselves for Prus- 
sia to eat. I think that the more manly and in 
the long run more prudent course would have 
been to have accepted the Prussian challenge and 
fought when it was first offered. But, failing 
that, there was nothing to do but for all of us to 
be prepared for the issue which every sane man 
could see must come. For my own part, I have 
nothing to repent of in the matter : I always sup- 
I>orted every proposal for the strengthening both 
of our military and of our naval forces. But I 
have sometimes thought that a word of repent- 
ance is due from some of those who now profess 
to recognise the indisputable fact of Prussian 
aggression, but who a very little while ago were 
not only denouncing and ridiculing as '^scare- 
mongers" every one who drew attention to it, but 
in some cases (notably in their attacks on Mr. 
Blatchford, who deserves at this moment more 
credit for foresight than any living Englishman) 
accompanied their abuse and their sneers by the 
foulest innuendoes. 

So long as Prussia existed, preparation for 
war was the first duty of every patriot through- 
out Europe. But if this war ends, as we must 



After The War 196 

see that it does end, in the utter destruction of 
Prussian military power, one may fairly expect 
that the extravagant exi)enditure on huge arma- 
ments may be gradually reduced to what men of 
other and healthier ages have considered as nor- 
mal. The sanctity of treaties will have been vin- 
dicated. The power of Europe to defend its 
traditions by arms against any who dispute 
them will have been established. There will be 
a recognised code of international morals to 
which men and nations can appeal. And if any 
Power should in the future be tempted to follow 
the example of Prussia and defy that code, I 
think that, after the lesson they have had, the 
nations of Europe will hardly again wait more 
than a hundred and fifty years before vindicating 
it by the sword. 

This war will not end war. I know of only 
two ways of ending war. One is by endowing 
all men with perfect wisdom and unfailing vir- 
tue ; the other is by depriving them of their man- 
hood. The first is not within our power, and the 
chances of the second are happily disappearing 
with the prospects of a Prussian victory. There 
will be plenty of more wars, no doubt; perhaps 
more than ever when the evil fear which under- 
lay the Armed Peace is lifted from the heart of 



196 The Prussian Hath Said in His Heart 

Europe. Bat it is fair enough to hope that these 
wars will be conducted under strict rules of hon- 
our, and that such things as the mere theft of 
territory from a weaker by a stronger State, as 
well as such military methods as have been em- 
ployed in Belgium, will be forbidden by that 
common conscience of Christendom which our 
arms are now vindicating. 

There remain to be considered the indirect re- 
sults of a Prussian overthrow, and these, though 
no man foresee them exactly, cannot fail to be of 
great moment. 

First among them I should place the discredit 
and disfavour which must more or less overtake 
all those experiments in imitation of the Prus- 
sian system which have been popular in so many 
nations of late years. For instance, when the 
Chancellor of the Exchequer introduced his cele- 
brated Insurance Act, it came quite natural to 
him to say that his system had been adopted in 
Prussia; it was taken as a guarantee of wisdom 
and efficiency. Such a method of recommenda- 
tion would hardly be so popular to-day. I have 
said in a previous chapter that the permanent 
impression left by the victories of 1870 was the 
conviction that it strengthened a state to treat 
the bulk of citizens as slaves. The fall of Prus- 



After The War 197 

sia caB hardly fail to produce a reaction in fa- 
vour of freedom, and that reaction will be 
strengthened by the knowledge of the informed 
that more than one Prussian failure has been 
really due to the superiority of troops not sub- 
jected to the Prussian sort of terrorism. The 
servile theory of society towards which so much 
of Europe, and England in particular, has re- 
cently been tending will receive a setback; and 
there will be a corresponding revival of the belief 
that the best military valour is to be found 
among freemen who feel that they have leaders 
but no masters. 

For the same reason I should not expect the 
democratic reaction of which I have spoken to 
take the CoUectivist form. That form is almost 
as essentially Prussian as the tyranny against 
which it appears as a reaction. As a speculation 
it has no doubt often figured in the thought of 
Europe, but it was in North Germany that the 
movement of working-class discontent was first 
canalized in the direction of a demand for uni- 
versal State ownership. In point of fact German 
Social Democracy is based upon the same prin- 
ciples as Prussian Imperialism. It accepts the 
same materialist basis; it founds its claim not, 
as the earlier French Socialists did, on an ab- 



108 The Prussian Hath Said in His Heart 

stract theory of justice, but on a calculation of 
the material interests concerned, and on a 
supposed "necessity" produced by "economic 
forces." The Prussian Socialist, like the Prus- 
sian Imperialist, thinks of machines as control- 
ling men, not as controlled by them. Like him, 
he regards his victory as "inevitable." Like 
him, he is indifferent to freedom, and thinks in 
terms not of the man, or of the family, but of the 
State. 

Finally, like his masters, he is beautifully con- 
scious of his own superiority to the rest of the 
human race. I remember, in my Socialist days, 
attending a meeting of the International Social- 
ist Congress at Amsterdam, and listening to a 
German Socialist who made a speech almost in- 
distinguishable from one of the Kaiser's own. 
It was all about German Culture and the Teu- 
tonic Spirit leading the human race, only it was 
going to lead it towards government by Prussian 
Socialists instead of by Prussian Junkers. I 
shall always remember that speech by reason of 
a brilliant retort which it provoked from the late 
Jean Jaurte, whose subconscious Gallic patriot- 
ism it succeeded in jarring into life. The Ger- 
man had asked the world to look at the three 
million Socialist voters of the German Empire. 



After The War 199 

"Yes," said Jaur6s, "look at them ! When there 
are three million Socialists in Prance, something 
will happen!" It was profoundly true. But 
Jaur^ never, perhaps, realised that the reason 
why three million French Socialists would be 
formidable is the same as the reason why they 
do not exist 

If we leave aside our own excellent profes- 
sional troops, freely enlisted and treated respect- 
fully and as free men by their officers, a victory 
of the Allies in this war, whether of French or 
Russians, Belgians or Serbians, is a victory of 
free peasants, men who own their own land, in- 
dependent alike of landlord and public official. 
Such a victory, since success in war seems always 
to have the effect which I have noted in the Prus- 
sian case, is likely to increase the number of 
those who look to such a regime of free land- 
owning families as the working model of the 
happy human society which we desire to see re- 
placing the present unstable combination of 
anarchy and oppression. 

For the same reason I should expect to see 
victory produce something like a reaction against 
much that we are accustomed to call civilisation. 
I have called the Prussians barbarians, and 
spiritually speaking it is profoundly true that 



200 The Prussian Hath Said in His Heart 

the BusBian is a much more civilised man than 
the North German. But there is another sense 
in which the Prussians themselves use the word 
when they accuse us of "allying ourselves with 
Muscovite barbarism" against German Culture^ 
and in which many Englishmen have been in the 
habit of using it; and, using it in that sense, 
barbarism has done not a little to justify itself 
of late. The splendid military qualities re- 
vealed recently by the little Balkan nations and 
well maintained by Serbia in this war will lead 
many to ask whether the complexity of modem 
elaborations of life really makes a nation 
stronger (it is clear that it does not make it hap- 
pier) than it was under simpler conditions. A 
victory for Prussia would be a defeat for civilisa- 
tion in the sense that it would mean a defeat for 
all European ideas and for all that makes the 
intercourse of free and varied nations possible; 
but it would be a victory for civilisation — ^if 
civilisation means Krupp. On the other hand, 
the defeat of Prussia by Bussia would be victory 
for the view that it fares ill with that land where 
arms accumulate and men decay. It would be a 
victory for Man over the work of his hands. 

I have spoken of Serbia, and I am not sure 
that before the war is over Serbia will not stand 



After The War 201 

as high in men's honour as any of the Allies. 
At present there is perceptible in my country a 
curious and, to my mind, a somewhat ungracious 
disposition to speak of Serbia as if she were in 
some way not quite respectable. Even Mr. Lloyd 
George, in defending Serbia, finds it necessary 
to say that her record is "not unspotted." 
(Neither is Mr. Lloyd George's, if it comes to 
that ! ) But Serbia's record is very heroic, which 
Mr. George's is not All the Allies are fighting 
against tyranny, but Serbia's whole history is one 
long fight against tyranny. By the geographical 
accident of her situation she has had in the pres- 
ent war to fight her own battles far away from her 
powerful allies, and she has fought it with splen- 
did spirit, refusing to remain on the defensive, 
and pushing whenever fortune favoured her, 
raids into the territory of the mighty empire 
which had sought to crush her. I am not sure 
that when the war is over, Serbia may not become 
a sort of exemplar for the many gallant little 
nations which the overthrow of Prussia will lib- 
erate and strengthen. 

There is a mordant contrast between the con- 
duct and fortunes of the two small nationalities 
which have been involved in this war. Serbia 
was the terror of diplomatists and a standing 



202 The Prussian Hath Said in His Heart 

nuisance to all the Chancelleries of Europe. 
Not only was she regrettably addicted to exhibit- 
ing her power of self-defence, but she displayed 
an even more perverse determination to liberate 
by arms her fellow countrymen oppressed by an 
alien yoke. By her unrepentant pugnacity she 
kept all the statesmen in a continual fret oyer 
the security of their "Armed Peace." In a word 
she had thoroughly mastered the sound advice 
which Byron gave to the oppressed nations of 
Southeastern Europe: — 

Trust not for freedom to the Franks, 
They have a King that buys and sells I 

In native swords and native ranks 
The only hope of courage dwells. 

And the event has justified her. On the other 
hand, Belgium put herself in the hands of 
Europe, trusted for protection to the public faith 
of Europe, was resolutely pacific and strictly ob- 
served her neutrality. The result is that her 
territory has been violated, her fields ravaged, 
her cities burnt and sacked, her peaceful popu- 
lation massacred or driven into exile! In her 
agony she has indeed shown a valour which 
shamed both the treacherous power that attacked 
her and the timorous Europe that so long tol- 
erated the existence of that power. She will as- 



After The War 208 

suredly come out of the war, for all her terrible 
losses, a more formidable state than she was 
when she entered it, and, when she has won back 
her soil and taken her share of vengeance on her 
enemies, it would be surprising if she consented 
to hold her own by permission of any one but her 
heroic self. 

And as I think this war will change our con- 
ception of civilisation, so, I fancy, it will largely 
change our conception of democracy. We shall 
perhaps think of it less in terms of constitutional 
mechanism, and more in terms of the popular will 
and the actual response of the Government to it. 
We shall be less disposed to think we are being 
governed democratically because the man who, 
on account of his wealth or family connections 
or his known subservience, has been co-opted by 
a group of self-elected politicians to be one of 
their number, has to go through the farce of being 
chosen as the less objectionable of the two candi- 
dates submitted to the electors of Drabbleton- 
on-Ouse. When we have seen how obviously 
more democratic are the Bussians under their 
Tsar than are the Germans under their ruling 
caste, we shall perhaps realise that democracy 
does not depend on electoral machinery, but 
that, on the contrary, the success of any ma- 



204 The Prusdan Hath Said in His Heart 

chinery, electoral or otherwise, depends on de- 
mocracy. 

Russia is a permanent mystery to all the West, 
and I, who know nothing of that mystery save 
from hearsay and books, shall not attempt even 
dimly to forecast her future. This only I will 
say : that all the things that seem to have been 
really evil in Russia, her bureaucratic corrup- 
tion, her espionage, her persecution of subject 
peoples, appear to have been Prussian exports 
supported continually by Prussian influence; 
while all the things that are evidently and splen- 
didly good, her sense of fraternity, her intense 
religion, her charity and her stout courage, are 
native and spring from the soil. I am not sure 
that the change from St. Petersburg to Petro- 
grad was not more important than any constitu- 
tional concession that the Tsar could have made. 
Once Russia is purely Russian we may live to 
see great changes, not perhaps in the direction 
of mere Western Parliamentarism (which has 
not been so conspicuous a success in its native 
home as to make the desirability of imitating it 
self-evident) but certainly in the direction of 
greater understanding; greater responsibility and 
more real representative relations between rulers 
and people. 



After The War 205 

In one respect at least the Bussification of Bns- 
sia must almost certainly mean a victory for lib- 
erty and human right. To one martyred nation, 
bowed down under more than a hundred years of 
persecution, the bugle-note of this war is the 
trumpet of resurrection. The quotation from 
Bismarck which I have already given in another 
chapter shows that that astute intriguer saw that 
the Panslavist movement was favourable to Pol- 
ish liberty, and threw all his energies into the 
work of oppressing Polish liberty for that rea- 
son. But this war is the triumph of Panslavism, 
and therefore the defeat of Poland's enemies 
both within and without the Bussian Empire. 

There is another reason why, apart from any 
confidence in the Bussian promise, practically all 
Poles feel this war as the end of their servitude. 
Frederick the Great was wise in his generation. 
The old Satanist knew his business when he in- 
vited his neighbours to that vile sacrament of 
murder. A divided Poland had the hopeless task 
of fighting three great empires, if she would seek 
her independence. A united Poland under a 
Bussian hegemony would, if oppression were at- 
tempted, have, at worst, only one enemy to op- 
pose, and would enjoy the good wishes and per- 
haps the active support of the other European 



206 The Prussian Hath Said in His Heart 

Powers, as well as of a considerable body of opin- 
ion in Bussia itself. 

There is another people to whom this war may 
bring the renewal of nationality, a people that 
has suffered a stranger destiny even than the 
Poles and that has endured an even longer exile 
from the rights of nationhood. I mean the Jews. 
The resurrection of this nation is no less desir- 
able in the interests of all European peoples than 
in its own. In particular the three principal 
Allies have suffered continually from the effects 
of the dispersion of this alien element through- 
out Europe. Whether they have persecuted the 
Jews, or tolerated the Jews, or submitted 
to the dictation of the Jews, they have equally 
found the omnipresence of this people an in- 
soluble problem. But now, since the folly or 
treason of the atheist ^TToung Turks" has 
thrown the Ottoman Empire into the melting 
pot, an entirely unexpected opportunity arises 
of solving that problem. The difficulty has 
been that while the Jews could never be ab- 
sorbed into the civilisation of any European 
country, it was hardly consonant with justice to 
treat them as foreigners, since there was no for- 
eign nation to which they could be attached. 
Now, however, their ancient country of Palestine 



After The War 207 

is available; and there is no reason why an inde- 
pendent Jewish State should not be established 
there^ though Christians would naturally prefer 
that the Holy Places should be placed under in- 
ternational control. It would not be reasonable 
to expect that all Jews should return to Pales- 
tine, but once the Jewish State existed with a 
Palestinian Ambassador in every capital and 
Palestinian Consuls in all the principal towns 
supporting the interests of the dispersed Jews, 
it would be easy to treat them in every country 
as an alien community with their proper priv- 
ileges and their proper disqualifications. I 
think that the Tsar, who is evidently anxious to 
do all he can to make things tolerable for the 
Jews, but who at the same time rightly refuses 
to sacrifice his own people, might with especial 
propriety lead the way in this matter. 

In France also we may look for a great change ; 
a change already observable some years before 
the war, but one which the war can hardly fail 
to hasten. It is hardly thinkable that aiter one 
of those great spontaneous military efforts of 
theirs, in which their real soul is best and most 
fully expressed, the French will ever again feel 
satisfied with the effete Parliamentarism that so 
constantly misrepresents them. Not that I 



208 The Prussian Hath Said in His Heart 

should anticipate that Boyalism will gain by the 
war : I should think that it would be almost an- 
nihilated by it For my own part, I have always 
felt that if I were a Frenchman, I could not 
possibly be a Royalist, if only because a Bestora- 
tion would really write "Defeat" across the 
grandest of all the epics of French arms. 
That feeling must be stronger than ever to-day, 
for after all, however patriotic and courageous 
the young enthusiasts of the Action franoais 
may have shown themselves, the fact must re- 
main that it is to the strains of the Marseillaise 
that the French soldier has charged the firoces 
soldats who have violated his fatherland, and 
that it is the Tricolour which he will at last 
have the glory of planting on the citadels of 
Metz and Strasburg. I should rather expect 
that the French would recover, under the sym- 
bols of the Bevolution, those things which have 
continually proved consonant with their blood 
and civilisation, the strong and popular central 
executive, the constant direct consultation of the 
people, and above all the deep conviction that 
soldiers represent them better than politicians. 
One thing at least we may confidently expect, 
— ^a final end to the sectarian policy dictated to 
the French Government by the Masonic Lodges. 



After The War 209 

By one of those ironies of which all history is 
fully a law originally passed by the Masons as 
an insult to the Catholic Church has made such 
stupidities impossible in the future. No French 
Government is going to persecute priests who 
have faced Prussian bullets. Nor is any French 
Government likely to attempt to apply such 
petty tyranny to the Catholic population of the 
recovered provinces. 

It will be interesting to see what effects the 
obliteration of Prussia will have upon the Ger- 
manics. 

It may be that the little kingdoms and city 
states which for so many hundred years formed 
the political framework of the Germanics, and 
within the confines of which so much splendid 
art and music and literature was fostered, will 
re-appear. Perhaps they will be joined in some 
sort of loose league or in several such leagues. 
Or again we may see a new Federal German 
Empire. It is a matter for the Germans to de- 
cide according to their tastes, and their tastes 
not being in the main political, they are likely 
enough to leave it to events to decide. The only 
condition on which Europe has to insist is : that 
Prussia should be entirely excluded from any 
such arrangement. 



210 The Prussian Hath Said in His Heart 

There is no reason for imposing upon the 
Hapsburgs the same veto which must certainly 
be imposed on the HohenzoUerns. The Haps- 
burgs must necessarily lose most of their Slav 
provinces, and probably their Italian ones also, 
but there is no reason why their German and 
Magyar dominions should not remain to them. 
Nay, if the Germans are looking for a titular 
head for a new German Confederation they 
might do worse than consider the suitability of 
a Hapsburg primacy. Until they allowed them- 
selves to be made the cat's-paws of Prussia the 
Hapsburgs had shown no little skill and tact 
in driving a varied team of kingdoms and par- 
liaments, and might do so again. At any rate 
the Catholic Kingdoms of South Germany, which 
have never loved the Prussians, might easily And 
themselves more comfortable and secure under 
Austrian leadership. 

Of course, Alsace and Lorraine must be an- 
nexed to France and Posen will form part of a 
united Poland, with the Tsar as its king. The 
fate of Schleswig-Holstein raises a question of 
peculiar interest to this country, for the Keil 
Canal runs through these territories. Among 
the many broken pledges of Prussia there is one 
that possesses a certain interest, — ^a pledge to 



After The War 211 

take a plebiscite of the Schleswigers and Hol- 
steiners as to their future. There is no reason 
why that plebiscite should not now be taken, or 
why any parts of those provinces that desired 
reunion with Denmark should not have their 
will. Our own interests clearly demand that in 
any case either the Keil Canal must (its for- 
tresses being dijgrmantled) be placed wholly on 
the hands of a power too small to be dangerous, 
or it must be destroyed. That, with the de- 
struction or surrender of the German Fleet and 
the recession of Heligoland, with such indem- 
nity as we may be able to enforce and such col- 
onies as we may choose to take, should be the 
English share in the fruits of victory. 

As to the indirect effect of the war on England 
I wish I could think that to us also it would 
bring really democratic government; but I 
rather doubt if it will have that effect. I think 
that a serious disaster would probably have suc- 
ceeded in waking Englishmen up to the need of 
controlling their irresponsible rulers. But we 
have been spared disaster so far, and it is hardly 
likely that it will now overtake us. Our govern- 
ing class has had good luck, and has, on the 
whole, done better than we might have expected. 
It will be rather absurd, no doubt, after a great 



212 The Prussian Hath Said in His Heart 

national effort to go back to the ludicrous sham- 
fighting of the politicians^ but I should not be 
candid if I said that I thought such foolishness 
impossible. 

Two good things I should expect for England 
as a result of this war. One is an increasing 
resistance to the sort of oppressive legislation 
which our politicians have borrowed fram Prus- 
sia, — some particularly bad examples of which 
have appeared since the war broke out. The 
other is a certain insistence that the English 
governing class, if it is to govern, shall at least 
be English. 

The problem has long been a serious one, but 
it has never before been brought home to the 
British public as it has been brought home of 
late. We have seen how our national action has 
been embarrassed, both before and since the out- 
break of war, by the presence in positions of great 
political influence of men who were not of our 
blood and could not be expected to share our 
national feeling. But that brings up the whole 
question of government by secret payments, to 
which some of us have been trying to direct 
public attention for years. If you give political 
power in return for a secret subscription to the 



After The War 218 

Party Funds^ you necessarily give that power 
not only to the English plutocrat^ but to the 
foreigner and perhaps to the traitor. Mr. Car- 
negie is reputed to be a subscriber to these 
funds. He is an American. I know of no rea- 
son why the Kaiser himself should not have sub- 
scribed. The Prime Minister tells us that he 
knows nothing about these subscriptions^ and 
the Chief Whip, who alone apparently does know 
about them, might, for all I know, regard a for- 
eign sovereign as an excellent catch. I admit 
that I do not think it very probable that the 
Kaiser contributed, but it is virtually certain 
that many Germans contributed, and we cannot 
tell how far the influence they acquired by so 
doing may have influenced our policy up to the 
very point at which such influence would become 
positive treason. It is certain, as I have said, 
that, up to the moment of war, all the forces of 
cosmopolitan finance were ranged on the side of 
a dishonourable peace. 

The strong resentment now felt against the 
presence of alien enemies in high places can 
hardly fail to force the people of this country 
to pay to these evils more attention than they 
have paid in the past, and to insist that, if we 



214 The Prussian Hath Said in His Heart 

are still to be governed by an oligarchy, it shall 
at least be a native oligarchy and not a foreign 
one. 

On the whole, I think the truest thing to be said 
about the consequences of this war is that which 
has already been said by a friend, Mr. Arthur 
Bansome, — that it will tend to make the nations 
which have taken part in it increasingly na- 
tional. It will bring them nearer together in 
matters of contract and honour, because it will 
re-establish the common code which Prussia 
denied, and which other countries had half for- 
gotten. But it will take them farther apart in 
matters of social custom and predilection, be- 
cause each will have had in the course of its fight 
for existence to dig down to its own roots and 
rediscover its origins. 

There used to be a thing called ^^Internation- 
alism." When I was a Socialist it was supposed 
(I never could imagine why) to be a part of 
Socialism. What it meant I never really dis- 
covered. It might, of course, mean something 
perfectly reasonable and even indisputable. 
Thus it might mean that what happened in one 
nation affected other nations. That is true; 
but instead of being a reason for expecting uni- 
versal i>eace, it is obviously a reason for being 



After The War 215 

prepared for, and, if necessary, waging wars. 
Again it might mean that nations have reciprocal 
rights and duties. That also is true, and it is a 
reason, and a good reason, why each nation 
should be ready to perform its duties ; but it is 
also a good reason why each nation should be 
ready to defend its rights. It is also true that 
these are human sanctities common to all na- 
tions, such as alone render their intercourse pos- 
sible: but it should be added that one of these 
universal sanctities is the right of a nation to 
fight 

What ^^Internationalism" seemed to mean in 
the mouths of most of its advocates was that a 
man's temporal loyalty was due, not to the sov- 
ereign society of which he was a member, but to 
an abstraction called "The Human Bace." This 
entity must not be confused with the old and 
sound religious conception of your "duty to- 
wards your neighbour*' — ^towards any individual 
man simply because he i« a man. For that duty 
is defined and reciprocal, while one's duty to- 
wards "Humanity" was supposed to be one of 
unconditional loyalty, overriding even the plain 
duty, based on reciprocity, which a man owes to 
the society to which, he belongs. What this 
strange doctrine had to do with the Socialist doc- 



216 The Prussian Hath Said in His Heart 

trine which I once held, that the means of pro- 
duction ought to be controlled by the political 
officers of the State, I never could understand. 
As to what it is supposed to have to do with the 
doctrine which I still hold, that sovereignty in 
any State belongs of right to the people of that 
State, I am even more in the dark. But it is 
certain that for many years both Socialism and 
Democracy were mysteriously associated in 
men's minds with ^^Internationalism." 

It is my hope that that association will not 
survive this war. 

The war did not come unexpectedly— except 
perhaps at the actual moment of its outbreak. Its 
coming had been foreseen for years, and no one 
had talked about it more than the International 
Socialists. They had had years in which to pre- 
pare for the crisis which they all told us they 
foresaw. If they had tried to hold the "prole- 
tarians of all lands" from fighting, and had 
failed, it might have been said that the war came 
too soon for them, and that a little more "educa- 
tion of the democracy" would have done the trick. 
But as they themselves, who were presumably as 
thoroughly "educated" as men could be, were 
just as eager to offer their services to their re- 



After The War 217 

spective national govenunente as were their sup- 
porters, we can only presume that their whole 
theory was based on an illusion. 

It is, of course, true that the French and Bel- 
gian Socialists could legitimately plead that their 
nations were fighting in self-defence, while the 
German Socialists could plead that it was always 
pretty obvious that they never had done and 
really never contemplated doing anything 
against their Qovemment. But I am not so 
much concerned with possible debating excuses 
as with the facts. When Gustav Herv6 said that 
his loyalty was to some imaginary International 
Proletariat and not to France, I have not the 
shadow of a doubt that what he said was per- 
fectly sincere. But would he now be prepared 
to say that it was true? When the crisis came, 
did he not discover that after all his loyalty was 
to France and to nothing else : that it was just 
because he was a Frenchman that the oppression 
of the French poor had moved him to anger ; and 
that it was just the same motive that made him 
ask the Government to send him to the front? 

I invite those who feel with me that the lib- 
eration of the poor from the insupportable con- 
ditions of our time is the cause best worth fight- 



218 The Prussian Hath Said in His Heart 

ing for^ and that the only means to this end is 
Democracy — that is, government by the general 
will — ^to consider these things. 

I really find it impossible to believe that they 
can again assemble in ^^International Socialist 
Congresses/' and pretend that what has happened 
has not happened, and that this astounding reve- 
lation of what it is that we really love and rev- 
erence, and feel to be worthy of the devotion of 
our lives, has not come upon us. Either they 
must be discouraged and feel disposed to aban- 
don the struggle, or they must look for a new 
basis on which to act 

I invite them to take the latter course. I 
invite them to ask themselves whether there ever 
really was any connection between their cham- 
pionship of the poor and the denial of nationality, 
except the fact that their economic theory ( with 
the soundness or unsoundness of which I am not 
here concerned) was invented by a Jew, who nat- 
urally saw no difference between Europeans, 
just as we see no difference between Chinamen. 

I ask them, on the other hand, to consider 
whether there is not a close and Intimate con- 
nection between the doctrine that the popular 
will ought to be sovereign in each State and the 
allegiance which men owe to such a State. I 



After The War 219 

would remind them that during the French Bevo- 
lution a "patriot" meant especially a Revolution- 
ist and a champion of popular rights. 

Let them, therefore, go on championing the 
rights of the poor against the rich, of the popu- 
lace against the goyeming class; but let them 
do so each for his own people, and on a basis of 
Nationalism. Then, perhaps, they will find that 
the populace will listen as it has never listened 
heretofore. 

As to myself, I never did believe in "The In- 
ternational," even when I was a Socialist and 
continually heard the words repeated as a sort 
of solemn incantation; and I am not likely to 
accept it now that its professions have faded at 
the first touch of reality. 



THB BND 



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